Microsoft has today unveiled the latest iteration of its Nokia X2 smartphone, a release that could be considered one of the company's most interesting to date. The reason for that is unique: It's the first smartphone Microsoft has released since its takeover of Nokia that's featured an Android base. This is kind of like one top car manufacturer selling a model using a competitor's engine - it's all sorts of awkward.
With its Windows Phone OS, Microsoft has a solution that's a direct competitor to Android, so you can probably understand how difficult it must be for the company to release a phone like the X2. Reading through the press release, the steps Microsoft takes to soften the blow become obvious. The company goes out of its way to call the X2 a "gateway to Microsoft services", a fact further proven when you look at the OS: It looks a lot like Windows Phone. If Microsoft was going to release a device with a competitor OS, it sure wasn't going to do it without as much Microsoft-infusion as possible.
That all being the case, though, the X2 isn't a high-end device, so that might be one thing that's keeping certain Microsoft execs from going a little batty. Instead, this is a smartphone designed for "the next billion people", something that the phone's €99 price tag further highlights. Plus, it features support for all of the Microsoft services already available on Android, a definite plus for the company.
From all angles, the X2 is a budget device, but it's still quite attractive both in specs and design. It features a Snapdragon dual-core SoC clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 4.3-inch screen (WVGA; 800x480), a 5 megapixel camera at the rear, a VGA camera at the front, an 1800mAh battery, and up to 10 hours of talk time over 2G, or 13 hours over 3G. On standby, the battery can power the phone for up to 23 days.
While the company hasn't provided images of the customized Android OS on the X2, the video above shows off much of the OS. Even without comparing it to Windows Phone, it looks pretty attractive, and very different from any Android OS I've ever seen. In a way, I almost feel like it represents what I think Windows Phone itself should look like. What do you think?