Nokia unveiled its X Android phones less than a week ago, with plans to use the handset to promote Microsoft services and not Google’s. After just a few days, hackers have managed to gain root access to the Nokia X and covert it to run most of Google’s key services. xda-developers member Kashamalaga managed to convert his Nokia X to run the Google Play Store and Google apps in five simple steps, suggesting Nokia hasn’t locked down the device too heavily. Apps like Gmail, Google Now, Google Maps, and Hangouts appear to run on his Nokia X developer handset.
While it’s not surprising that the Nokia X has been hacked to run Google apps and additional launchers, it’s still slightly embarrassing for the Finnish smartphone maker. Microsoft will acquire Nokia’s phone business in the coming weeks, and the X Android handset was designed specifically to run Microsoft services like Outlook.com, OneDrive, and Skype. Nokia’s head of devices, Stephen Elop, described the X plan as a deliberate way to avoid using Google apps and to supplement them with Microsoft equivalents. Nokia has even built its own Android app store to avoid using Google’s Play version.
With the xda-developers community having already hacked the Nokia X to provide access to Google’s services, it’s likely that the next step will be a full replacement of the entire operating system to turn the handset into a stock Android device. We’ve reached out to Nokia for comment on the alterations, and we’ll update you accordingly.
Update: Nokia appears to be happy that the X has been hacked to run Google's Android apps and services. In a tweet the company says it's "very excited to see progress is being made."
@KashaMalaga This is awesome! Very excited to see progress is being made - we actually really like @xdadevelopers— Nokia Developer Team (@nokiadeveloper) February 28, 2014
Update 2: Nokia has removed its tweet and has revealed to The Verge that it was posted by a junior staff member. A Nokia spokesperson says it doesn't indicate a change in position away from Microsoft's bundled services on the X. "We believe people will benefit from its standard configuration and will continue to work with the developer community to support that approach," says a Nokia spokesperson.