A couple of days back we heard from Nokia that their recently announced Nokia X smartphone has received 1 million preorders in China, great news for the Finnish manufacturer who are in the late stages of selling off their Devices and Services Division to Microsoft.
Initial reaction to the Nokia X family of devices which got their official launch at MWC back in February were somewhat mixed. Many were shocked at the news, despite all the leaks prior to the announcement, while others just didn’t see the point in a smartphone running Android which doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store. Derision came from some corners, but a reoccurring question was “Will these phones be scrapped by Microsoft?” While it wasn’t without it’s admirers, the overall impression I got based on these reactions was that the Nokia X, the X Plus and the XL may struggle to make much of a dent in the market. So imagine the surprise at the sight of this tweet from Nokia:
— Nokia (@nokia) March 14, 2014
A million preorders on a single carrier in a matter of days! Now that would suggest that all the knockers and mockers might just have to eat their words on this one. These preorders are comparative to the sales Nokia’s Lumia range managed in their first quarter of availability. Does that suggest that a Nokia smartphone running Android albeit without the apps from Google actually has a huge demand? Do these numbers prove what a lot of people have been saying for a long time, that Nokia should have gone with Android instead of Windows Phone?
Before even trying to give a definite Yes or No perhaps we should look a bit closer at the “1 Million Preorder” headline. We have to bare in mind in this instance, a preorder does not mean a sale. It doesn’t even equal a commitment to buy. No money has been put up by anyone. But still, it is a good number of people showing an interest in buying the Nokia X, right? Well, yes it is, but there was an incentive for customers on Chinese carrier JingDong to hit the “Preorder” button. You could say it doubled as an “Enter To Win A Nokia X” button. That’s right, those who logged in and clicked “Preorder” would be entered into a contest to win the device.
So, using a clever way to get people to enter their interest, JD.com managed to compile a million entries. It is still a good achievement, and shows that there is definite interest in the Nokia X, especially at it’s attractive price of 599 Yuan (Just under £59/$99). But for me it isn’t enough to determine that Android would have been a better choice than Windows Phone for Nokia.
But what about a Nokia running Google’s Android OS? Nokia must have considered this option back when the “Burning Platforms” memo was sent out to Nokia employees, but there are still valid reasons why Windows Phone was the correct choice. The main one I can see is the fact their Mapping software in which they had invested heavily, would have had to take a backseat to Google’s own mapping and location services.
As for what will become of the X family of devices once it is under Microsoft’s control is anyone’s guess. Can I really see it being aborted? Well, yes I suppose I can, especially considering the fate of MeeGo Harmatten, but that is another story.