Nokia’s long-rumored Android smartphone is shipping across the globe next week. Well, with one minor exception: North America.
That's right. Eager users in the U.S. and Canada will be missing out on Nokia’s budget-friendly smartphone.
Nokia plans to ship the Nokia X everywhere else—from emerging markets such as China, Indonesia, Thailand, Central America, India, and the Middle East to developed and developing nations across Europe. Priced at just €89 ($122 at time of writing) with no subsidy, the Nokia X aims to be a dominant player in the affordable smartphone game.
In emerging markets, Nokia is pitting the Nokia X against the likes of Motorola’s Moto G and devices running Mozilla’s Firefox OS. The competition to slice out market share in countries across the world is getting intense. Smartphone markets in the industrialized world are starting to mature, creating a scramble among rival ecosystems to get customers in populous but less wealthy nations signed onto their services.
Mozilla wants to get people on the Web using the Mozilla browser. Google wants people on its services and cloud like Gmail and the Google Play app store. Microsoft—through Nokia—wants people to use its services like Outlook, OneDrive and Skype.
Nokia To Focus On Lumia In The U.S And Canada
In the U.S., almost everyone is familiar with Microsoft Word and Office products as well as Outlook and Skype. Microsoft doesn’t need Nokia to ship an affordable Android smartphone in the U.S. or Canada to get consumers to use its products.
Hence, the company's aim in the U.S. is for Nokia to ship mid-to-high end Lumia devices based on its Windows Phone OS in order to battle toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPhone and top Android phones from Samsung and HTC. At this point, Nokia is basically ceding the low-end smartphone economy in the U.S. and Canada to other companies.
This is par for the course for Nokia, which hasn't ever really introduced its low-end smartphones—such as the Nokia Asha and its Symbian “smart” devices—to U.S. consumers. In many ways, the Android-based Nokia X running Android is Nokia’s replacement for Symbian, just with a better and more efficient operating system and hundreds of thousands of more pertinent apps.
That doesn’t mean U.S. consumers are going to like it. The Moto G has a certain fan base among customers in the U.S. because it is precisely what it says: a cheap but full-featured smartphone available for less than $200 without a contract. The Nokia X could battle with the Moto G and comparable devices in the U.S. and do fairly well.
Top image: Compass by Walt Stoneburner, Flickr