The oddest tech news of the week belongs to Microsoft, the new owners of Nokia's phone division.
For those who aren't tech-obsessed, Microsoft has its own phone operating system (Windows Phone 8.1) and app store, though its app store is far less populated than those of Google's Android or Apple's iOS. As a result, Microsoft's phones haven't been selling particularly well.
Two of the company's plans leaked earlier this week, and both point to a cozier relationship with rival Google's Android operating system.
Nokia is Releasing an Android Phone.
For the past few years, Nokia has only made Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1-based phones. Then Microsoft bought Nokia's phone division, cementing the relationship.
Then, per The Verge, it releases an Android phone?
We're not quite sure what the play is here. Maybe the phone, which is a cheap phone for developing countries, was planned before Microsoft acquired the company. Or maybe, the phone's tweaked version of Android, which carries a Windows-like interface, is meant to gain a foothold in the low-end market, with hopes that those customers will later upgrade to actual Windows phones.
But here's the biggest problem: you're splintering your customers. The "Nokia X," as it is rumored to be branded, will run a handful of Android apps, and will not have access to Google's app store. It almost certainly won't run Windows Phone 8.1 apps. You now have two ecosystems to support with two sets of apps.
Our advice: if the Nokia X ever makes it state-side, don't buy it.
Windows, Desktop and Phone, Adding Android Apps?
App store isn't growing fast enough? Here's a solution: make your phones run somebody else's apps.
Microsoft is considering tweaking Windows 9 to allow Android apps to run on both Windows Phones and computers. The move carries some dangers (developers skipping native Windows app development, for example) but would greatly increase app availability, which might move more devices.
In our experience, most lawyer-focused apps are released first for Apple's iPhones and iPads, then Android, and almost never on Windows or Blackberry. Adding the ability to run Android apps would certainly make Windows-based devices a lot more appealing.
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