The idea, hopes and dreams of a Nokia device sporting Android has been around the block a number of times. We all would like to see them put something out because they make fantastic hardware, but it was shot down time and time again. Even with investors hounding for a change. However, a new report from the New York Times is citing that two people “briefed on the effort” are making the claim that Android was up and running on the flagship Lumia devices. Heck, they even say that Nokia was considering a switch into Android finally sometime after 2014. The year isn’t a coincidence, Nokia’s contract with Microsoft and the Windows platform would have expired then and Nokia could have moved on. Since Nokia accounts for 80% of all Windows phones, it would have been a major killjoy for Microsoft to lose them. This information sure makes more recent news of Microsoft picking up Nokia for $7.2 billion more of last ditch effort to keep Windows phones alive and kicking.
On one level, Nokiaâ€™s Android effort is not shocking. Companies often have â€œplan Bsâ€ in the works in case they need to change course on strategy or want to help negotiate better terms with partners. Getting Android to run on Nokiaâ€™s hardware was not a Herculean engineering effort, according to the people familiar with the project.
Still, a functioning Nokia Android phone could have served as a powerful prop in Nokiaâ€™s dealings with Microsoft, a tangible reminder that Nokia could move away from Microsoftâ€™s Windows Phone software and use the Android operating system, which powers more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally.
A third source on the story makes mention that the Android project that was underway didn’t factor into negotiations regarding the acquisition. No one seems to be speaking out on if the Nokia Android project is still in the works behind the scenes or if it has since been shut down with Microsoft taking over.
The more I think about all of this the more my brain starts to piece things together. With Microsoft getting their grubby little mits on Nokia, they now have a mobile division of experts at their disposal. With so few manufacturers putting Windows on mobile phones one could easily see this as a move towards a more closed offed Apple iOS/iPhone style maneuver.
In my humble opinion it would behoove both Nokia and Microsoft to keep testing and bring an Android device to market. I wonder how that would work out on the patent front though, since Microsoft makes a good chunk of change on licensing fees per Android device sold. Would they bill themselves and cut a check? At least there is a shining light of hope that Nokia might still do something, but if not, there is still Newkia to keep an eye on. Oh, and Adaia.