BARCELONA, Spain -- I popped by the Nokia booth earlier today to try out the new Nokia X range of handsets and came away unimpressed.
The first thing I did was to try customising the user interface, and while Nokia has added a Windows Phone-like skin, the UI was decided sub-par in experience.
You can add widgets like Android, but these widgets feel out of place and don't really fit in the theme of the handset (as you can see from the picture I took).
Call me cynical, but Nokia already missed the non-burning Android platform a long while back, and the new Nokia X family of products probably isn't the way forward, at least in my opinion. I've seen plenty of terrible devices in my part of the world, and well these phones aren't too far off.
Sure, it will keep costs low, which will help push its handsets to emerging markets, but the ugly and clunky Windows-like skinned theme feels like an abomination.
Windows Phone's claim to fame is it's simple and elegant UI, and being smooth like butter even on low-end handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 525.
This Windows skin don't deliver that experience -- and the tiles are just limited to a large square (taking up half a row) or a small square (a quarter of the space).
I would have honestly preferred a Symbian-like skin over Android, which would have made more sense to users who are switching from the older Symbian-devices, or just default Android but keeping it clean while still implementing the Microsoft services (such as Bing) in the handset.
Of course, if the Nokia X series turns into a bestseller, well, I'm happy to be proven wrong. But I like to think consumers (even those in emerging markets) will have better taste than to use something that feels so wrong.