Special report by our Indian technical correspondent
In an email to Microsoft employees last week [July 2014], CEO Satya Nadella announced that the company would lay off 18,000 employees over the course of the year and most of them (12,500) would be from Nokia’s handset division. These layoffs are Microsoft’s way of restructuring around a Nadella’s view of Microsoft as a “mobile first, cloud first” organisation.
Although Nokia X2 was announced recently, Microsoft will cease development of the Nokia X series and it won’t launch any new device in the Nokia X family. But the company will continue to support currently available devices.
Although the Nokia X series featured a forked [Google Play-free] version of Android, the services and the user interface was similar to what was offered by the Lumia series.
The Nokia X did manage to find a modicum of success in the India, mainly due to the strong brand recognition and loyalty.
The move to abandon the Nokia X series shortly after the launch of the Nokia X2 means that Microsoft is intent on clearing house and refocusing its efforts on the Windows Phone (WP8) platform.
Microsoft has said that it would recycle the product designs of “select” Nokia X devices and bring them over to the Lumia series, saving them a lot of time in getting a device out into the market.
Whatever device is borne out of the process, it will likely join the Lumia 530, the latest device in the Lumia family.
The Lumia 530 is the most affordable Windows Phone 8.1 device to date, and from the look of things, isn’t all that different from its predecessor, the Lumia 520.
The fact that the device comes with 512 MB RAM reinforces the notion that Microsoft is clearly demarcating the lower-end with the mid-tier and high-end segments.
Traditionally, lower-end Lumias eschewed RAM and storage for affordability, and it looks like Microsoft is continuing the trend with the Lumia 530.
Coming back to the Nokia X, it does make a certain amount of sense that Microsoft is discontinuing the line.
For all its good intentions, Nokia failed to nail down the product offerings, as none of the devices in the Nokia X range seemed like decent alternatives to similarly priced Android handsets.
Also, the lack of Google’s Play Store and otherGoogle services meant that in terms of availability of content, the Nokia X family is severely limited.
It’s good to know that Microsoft wants to focus on Windows Phone devices, Microsoft’s own services and improving Windows Phone ecosystem rather than spending its time on forked Android development.