Microsoft isn’t giving up on its Android smartphones. After acquiring Nokia’s phone business in April, Microsoft is introducing a new Nokia X2 handset today. It’s almost identical in appearance to the original Android-based Nokia X, but it sports a slightly bigger 4.3-inch display, 1GB of RAM, and a faster 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Although the specifications aren’t wildly different to the previous model, 1GB of RAM should help boost the performance of app switching, a feature that felt a little slow during our initial look at the original Nokia X. The Nokia X2 also includes a home button alongside the regular back button. The original X handset only included a back button, an odd choice given the popularity of home buttons on smartphones.
The most surprising part of the Nokia X2 for many will be that Microsoft is continuing to invest in these Android-based handsets. Nokia’s original X device blended a Windows Phone-like UI with Android and Microsoft services, and the X2 does exactly the same with slightly refreshed and refined hardware. At just 99 Euros ($135), Microsoft will be hoping that this second-generation X2 will be another way to feed consumers into buying Windows Phones, and get smartphone users hooked on its range of cloud-based applications and services. The Nokia X2 will be available globally in July, and comes in glossy green, orange, or black, with yellow, white, and dark grey planned for later.