Former mobile heavyweight Nokia was faced with a tough decision in 2008. Apple’s iPhone had been on the market for a year and already the newcomer’s App store posed a threat. Two solutions were at hand: jump on the vendor bandwagon and invest in Android, or side with Microsoft.
What followed was a series of mediocre phones. Microsoft’s Window’s Phone operating system was a work in progress, and this meant Nokia, a company that focussed on hardware, couldn’t properly compete in the spec race against Samsung, Sony and HTC.
The rest was history. And by ‘the rest’, we’re referring to Nokia’s Device business, which has since been acquired by Microsoft.
Now Nokia is investing in Android with the release of its Z launcher. The launcher uses handwriting recognition to sift through your apps, contacts, websites and more quickly. The one-panel homescreen populates default apps based on your usage history and the time of day.
Currently Nokia’s Android launcher is available as a limited Beta release. Installing it requires you enable installation of third-party (unknown) applications from the settings menu of you Android smartphone and download the apk from the Z launcher website.
Nokia did release an Android smartphone overseas known as the Nokia X, but the smartphone used a forked version of Android with the hopes of poaching users from Google's ecosystem.