Nokia X gets support for Google services

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Nokia X, Microsoft’s accidental Android off-shoot has just received another update that unexpectedly lets users access Google’s Android apps.

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Previously, though Nokia X devices ran the Android operating system, it was an unofficial “fork” of the system – so essentially had all of its Google-ness removed, a bit like how Amazon’s KindleFire runs Android Apps but doesn’t have GMail/Google Play/etc.

With the latest update though, according to Microsoft News, v2.1 brings the following updates:

  • Capture fast-moving objects with the new Smart Mode, and create unique photos by using the Action shot, Best shot, or Motion blur options.
  • Make your phone more personal than ever with live wallpapers and new lock screen widgets.
  • Keep your life synced with OneDrive and OneNote. Get up to 15 GB of personal storage space on OneDrive, and sync up to 500 notes to OneNote.
  • Access your favorite Google services. You can now sync your Google contacts, and access your Gmail inbox.
  • Find your way anywhere with HERE Maps – get turn-by-turn voice guidance with a free global navigation license. Requires additional HERE Maps update from Store.
  • Updated Store – new design to help you find content more easily, and better integration with 3rd-party stores.
  • Added local calendar support, call reject with a message, parental controls for Store, landscape support for mail and messaging, and auto-configuration of mail accounts.

The Google inclusion is most interesting: There is no reason Nokia couldn’t have included the Google stuff when the Nokia X was first release – so this signals something of a U-turn. At present it isn’t entirely clear whether this means just the Gmail app, or whether it also means the Google Play store (so more apps to download) and deeper integration with Google services – but it appears to be the latter.

What makes this update more perplexing is that Microsoft is that it was said that MS was cutting the Nokia X division when sweeping changes were announced in July. Could adding Google support be a sop to customers who are about to be ignored by Microsoft?

James O’Malley