Microsoft might have formally closed the doors on its brief Android venture, but it isn’t completely pulling the plug on its already existing Android smartphones. Nokia has just announced an incoming software update for the Nokia X, X+, and XL devices, bringing in a wealth of new features and apps, which might also be the last substantial update the smartphones will get.
The biggest UI improvement in this update is the new App Switcher feature, basically like Android’s own Recent Apps display. Users need only swipe down from the top edge of the phone to bring down the quick control panel and then select the app switcher icon. This will take them to a cards like layout of currently running and recently used apps, where they can switch to those apps or close the app. It’s a few steps more compared to the regular Android way, but considering Nokia/Microsoft’s custom UI doesn’t have a navigation panel, it’s a necessary evil.
The update will also bring a load of pre-installed Microsoft apps to the phone. In particular Outlook, OneDrive, and OneNote will now be baked into the phone’s firmware. Outlook brings Microsoft’s email and calendaring service to the phone, while OneNote Mobile will let users access notes stored on OneDrive. They can also create notes right from the phone, though curiously limited to a maximum of 500 notes.
Like any other regular Android device, this software update will be arriving via OTA but can also be manually queried from the phone’s Settings app. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same Nokia X software platform 2.0 that was unveiled with the new Nokia X2, but considering that platform 2.0 will never make it to the older phones because of hardware limitations, this might be the closest that Nokia X owners can get to that experience. And since there is no certainty that Microsoft will continue supporting the platform after it has laid off most of the old Nokia‘s workforce, Nokia X owners might want to savor this update as much as they can.