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Android is new Microsoft smartphone OS

WASHINGTON -- Microsoft on Tuesday opted for the Android operating system from arch rival Google for its new Nokia smartphone, in a move aimed at regaining momentum in the competitive mobile sector.

Microsoft said the Nokia X2 was “designed to introduce the “next billion” people to the mobile Internet and cloud services.”

The device is an updated version of a phone unveiled by Nokia before Microsoft acquired the handset division of the Finnish giant.

It will be sold worldwide as a dual-SIM phone at a price of US$135, Microsoft said in a statement.

While Microsoft has been struggling to get a foothold in the smartphone market with its Windows Phone operating system, the X2 “provides access to a world of Android apps and popular Microsoft services,” the statement said.

Even though it uses the rival Android platform, the X2 offers “a gateway to Microsoft services,” including the Skype messaging program and OneDrive cloud storage.

The initial Nokia X was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February before Microsoft completed its takeover of Nokia's handset division in April.

The new version cuts the price of a phone that has had success in some countries.

“The Nokia X family is going from strength to strength, with the Nokia X smartphone achieving top-selling status in Pakistan, Russia, Kenya and Nigeria, while earning the third best-selling smartphone spot in India,” said Timo Toikkanen, head of mobile phones for the Microsoft Devices Group.

With the Nokia X unveiled in February, Android applications work but users cannot access Google's services, notably its applications store, Google Play.

Tuesday's statement said users would have access to the Nokia Store as “the place for finding the highest-quality Android apps” for the device.

Windows Phone has managed to get only around 3.5 percent of the global smartphone market, while Android has more than 80 percent, according to recent figures from research firm IDC.

'Brilliant' Move

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