Microsoft launches Nokia X2 Android phone

In today's open source roundup: The Nokia X2 phone combines Android with Microsoft's online services. Plus: Three defunct Linux distros, and Linux dominates supercomputers

One doesn't usually associate Microsoft with Android, except when discussing Microsoft's very profitable Android patents. But Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia has resulted in the first official Android phone from the Redmond giant. The Nokia X2 essentially blends Android with Microsoft's online services to create a unique Android experience.

According to Forbes:

The X2 will cost €99 ($135, £80) and come with a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, a 5MP camera, 4.3-inch display, dual-sim, and 15GB of inbuilt storage space. Nokia has stuck with the fluorescent design of the previous models, coming in green, orange, black, yellow and grey.

Although the X2 is running Android, the OS has been heavily modified to look more like a Windows Phone interface. Nokia has also included a home key, which wasn’t present on any of its predecessors and came under some criticism after its omission confused some users.

More at Forbes
Microsoft Nokia X2 Android Phone
Image credit: Forbes

I wish I could say I was impressed with the Nokia X2, but I'm not for the simple reason that it seems to be the worst of both worlds. You have Android of course, but it has been modified to try to make the phone into a hybrid that resembles Windows Phone and promotes Microsoft's online services.

How many people would really want to buy this thing? If you want Microsoft's services then the logical thing to do is to simply buy a Windows phone. And if you prefer Android then wouldn't you go for an Android phone that hasn't been tweaked to look like Windows Phone?

Sorry, I just don't see who the market is for this kind of device. I doubt very many Android users are going to bother with it, and I can't see it having enough appeal for Windows Phone users either. It seems to be a franken-phone with one foot in both camps and I doubt it'll do much in the way of sales.

The fate of SimplyMEPIS, Mandrake Linux and Lindows

Linux.com takes a look at what happened to three distros that were quite popular in their day: SimplyMEPIS, Mandrake and Lindows.

According to Linux.com:

Remember Lindows? It was one of the most ambitious distros, the first to take on Microsoft Windows head-on. Founder Michael Robertson wanted to develop a friendly, polished distro that could run major Windows applications such as MS Office, and to get it on OEM PCs and into stores. In 2002 you could buy Lindows PCs at Walmart.

But poking the behemoth is risky, and Lindows paid the price. Microsoft sued them and lost. But big bank accounts never really lose, so Microsoft kept suing, and then offered a settlement. They paid Lindows $20 million and got the rights to the name, so Lindows became Linspire.

More at Linux.com
Defunct Linux Distros
Image credit: Linux.com

It's funny to revisit these distros now, I remember all of them in their heyday. It just goes to show you how quickly a distribution can go from the top of the heap to being just a memory. Or, as in the case of Mandrake Linux, it can morph from having one identity to having another (Mandriva).

Nothing is ever static in the world of desktop Linux, change is the only real constant.

Linux and supercomputers

ZDNet reports that Linux rules the roost when it comes to supercomputers.

According to ZDNet:

For years, Linux has ruled supercomputing. So, it came as no surprise to anyone at the Linux Enterprise End-User Summit near Wall Street that once again the Top500 group found in its latest supercomputer ranking that Linux was the fastest of the fast operating systems.

In the latest contest, not only did Linux dominate, but Linux showed that is slowly pushing out all its competitors. In the June 2014 Top 500 supercomputer list, the top open-source operating system set a new high with 485 systems out of the fastest 500 running Linux. In other words 97 percent of the fastest computers in the world are based on Linux.

More at ZDNet

Wow, I had been aware of the dominance of Linux in supercomputers but I hadn't realized it had gone this far. I'm also glad to see that there is still a commitment to make Linux even faster than it already is now.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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