BARCELONA: Nokia's new X series of Android smartphones will entice users away from Google services and into the Microsoft ecosystem, according to ex-CEO Stephen Elop.
Elop discussed the Nokia X devices during a developer keynote at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, claiming they will win over millions of new customers that would otherwise have gone to Google.
"We've heard a lot of things this MWC but I dare say the most exciting news was me, Stephen Elop, the Mr Windows Phone guy holding up the Nokia X, the X+ and the Nokia XL. But this is a deliberate strategy to leverage Microsoft services," he said.
"By using Microsoft services Nokia X becomes a feeder for Lumia. We're using the open source Android platform but without Google services. Many of the next billion people [to connect to the internet] don't have any relationship with Microsoft so this is also an opportunity for Microsoft – the Nokia X gives people a gateway to Microsoft.
"These devices also bring with them the Nokia brand and global distribution chain and they're going to sell tens of millions."
The Nokia X series of devices were unveiled at Nokia's opening MWC keynote on Monday. They are designed to target the affordable smartphone market, with the Nokia X planned to retail for €89 and the X+ and XL to cost €99 and €109, respectively. Elop said the prices were key, and would entice users away from Google.
"We've designed the Nokia X family, to compete with affordable Android devices. We think it will win people's hearts as it features unique Nokia experiences and connections to popular Microsoft services," he said.
Elop added that Nokia will continue to predominantly market and develop its Lumia Windows Phones despite its X series plans. "Lumia is our primary strategy and it's where we'll debut our biggest innovations," he said.
Elop added that Nokia Lumia devices have already helped facilitate rapid growth within the Windows Phone ecosystem. "Today Windows Phone is the fastest-growing ecosystem in the world and we're already seeing 500 new apps added every day," he said.
"We're also adding a number of apps people have been waiting for like Instagram for Windows Phone. We also just added BBM and Adobe Photoshop Express. We're excited Nokia has helped spur that growth."
Recent statistics from analyst house Gartner support Elop's claim. Gartner reported that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform market share rose slightly over the past year, increasing from 2.5 percent in 2012 to 3.2 percent in 2013. The figure places Windows Phone as the third-largest mobile ecosystem in the world.
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