One of my favorite aspects of Android is the sheer versatility of the operating system. When a manufacturer releases a product and power users wish for the product to have a bit more functionality, there’s a good chance that a talented Android developer will arise to do just that. The Nokia X was announced last week with a full set of Nokia and Microsoft services, completely lacking Google’s widely recognized applications that make Android into the behemoth of an operating system that it is today. The usefulness of the Nokia X was questioned and now Android hackers have done what they do best, customizing devices, increasing their usefulness.
No matter how you slice it, Android is still Android. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Nokia X has been rooted shortly after the phone was announced. Remember, the Nokia X is launching with Android 4.1.2, which launched back in November 2012. That’s ancient in terms of Android releases. Since then, we’ve seen 6 updates, including 2 major revisions, bringing us to Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
Thanks to Nokia using such an outdated version of Android, a user over at XDA Developers was able to run an old and well known exploit (Gandalf) to obtain root on the Nokia X. After that, he simply installed a file system explorer that can read system partitions, such as Root Explorer, and manually pushed all of the standard Google applications on to Nokia X’s system directory. With minimal effort, the Nokia X now has Google apps like Google Now, Google Maps, Google Now Launcher, most importantly the Google Play Store, and the Play Store’s plethora of apps, games, music, movies, and books.
This question still remains. Why would you buy the Nokia X and put Google Services on it? It’s a cheaply made device, has low end hardware specs, runs an old version of Android, and you have to hack it to run Google services. Answer: Because you can.
Elop did say that the Nokia X did allow other apps and app stores to be sideloaded. I’m not sure this is what he meant though.