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Nokia tested Android-powered handsets before Microsoft purchase

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Nokia tested Android-powered handsets before Microsoft purchase
Basically ever since Nokia first partnered with Microsoft to build handsets exclusively running Windows Phone, there have been those who have wanted to see the company ditch that strategy and begin developing Android devices. Of course, that possibility is gone now that Microsoft has agreed to purchase Nokia's devices unit.

And, that purchase agreement has raised questions. First of all being: why would Microsoft need to purchase a company that was already exclusively building the best devices in the Windows Phone ecosystem? There are two schools of thought to answer that. Some believe that Nokia was on the verge of going bankrupt, and the best way to keep that from happening was for Microsoft to purchase the devices unit. The other school of thought is that Nokia was planning to abandon Windows Phone for Android. 

That second idea seems to have some legs, because a new report from The New York Times is saying that Nokia was testing Android-powered devices in the time leading up to the Microsoft purchase. It wasn't just testing, but there was a real possibility that Nokia was planning to actually release an Android handset sometime in late 2014; and, Microsoft knew the whole time. 

Although sources do say that the possibility of Nokia moving to Android was not part of the purchase talks with Microsoft. But, that doesn't necessarily mean that the information didn't help to give Nokia a bit of leverage in the negotiations, assuming Nokia wasn't in a pinch because of possible bankruptcy issues. 

source: NYT

  • Options

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 16:55 16

1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2115; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Hope they don't go for Android. They'll be doomed. Stick with WP.

Well they can't. Good.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:02 34

6. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)

yeah they should have used android 3 years ago

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:11 5

21. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

Before SS gained all their momentum. Would be an interesting landscape if that had happened.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:32 7

30. lyndon420 (Posts: 4404; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Yuppers. It would be Nokia dominating the market not Samsung.

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 01:55 3

60. gazmatic (Posts: 795; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

they tried it and it sucked....

nokia demanded that MS get its software to run on lower end devices

if you know anything about nokia, you would know that they are not spec warriors

and if you know android... you know tht it sucks on low end devices

check out the specs of the n9 and the n900

nokia has yet to release a top specced phone(lumia 1520 isnt released yet)

that is nokias policy.... smoothness on less

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 11:40 1

69. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

Agree, if they used Android in 2011 they shouldn't loose any money. Nokia wake up and make android too.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:44 9

16. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

And we see how great going exclusively WP turned out for Nokia, right?

Android and Windows devices would have been the logical choice, but I won't bother trying to convince you of that. There was as huge Nokia following that splintered off into iOS and Android for various reasons. Many of the iOS converts are probably lost forever, but many of the Android converts (like myself) felt Android an Nokia would have been a dream device. To ignore those people was their doom.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:55 3

42. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Consider this: what if Nokia had gone android (presuming google gave into their requests to change android from the ground-up and get financial assistance to ease the transition), and Samsung hadn't, and had solely supported Windows Phone with the marketing budget and manufacturing scale, power, and influence they have? In essence, a role reversal? Keep in mind Nokia wouldn't have been able to release any new Android phones at LEAST until early- or mid-2012, and the two biggest android makers at the time were Motorola and HTC.

How would the mobile landscape be different? Would apple be more or less dominant? Would Palm/HP still be making phones? Would blackberry/RIM still be around? Could Nokia have had the ability to make both MeeGo and Android, and gradually force Android out and MeeGo in, especially with MeeGo being a LOT leaner, more modern, more efficient, and technically more capable and mod-able? Would WP have Android's market share? Would Android have gotten past the Honeycomb hornswoggle (if it happened at all)? Would Sony and LG given up on smartphones entirely, or committed to WP (keeping in mind that LG was one of the original four main WP brands with HTC, Samsung, and Dell)? So many different outcomes and possibilities, even still.

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 00:12 1

57. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Meego was really good, but still no Android. The thing is, Motorola and htc both got lazy leaving a big hole for ANY other Android oem to just slide through. Think about it, before the GS1, Samsung digital phones were the worst on the market, especially if it had a touchscreen. Then they started using Android and now there are Galaxy's all over the place. Now if Android can elevate Samsung so quickly, why wouldn't it work for the best oem on earth?

The thing is, Elop never wanted Nokia to be succeed. He was sent there to bring it down from the inside out. He knew if Nokia made an Android device, the company would have not only been in the red, but they would have dominated. And m$ wouldn't have gotten the deal of the century. The plan worked perfectly.

posted on 15 Sep 2013, 00:09

72. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 805; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)

U are saying "Whatever" comes too your mind... LOL

posted on 15 Sep 2013, 10:24

73. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Well, look at where the two companies were in 2007. Nokia was at the top while Samsung struggled. They had a few successes, but nothing even close to Nokia. Mow look at where each company sits. Do you have any other explaination?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:56 1

43. nlbates66 (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)

well, Nokia phones make up more than 60% of Windows phones small, but rapidly growing market share, so what? There's no way to definitively prove they'd have wound up any better than HTC is right now if they'd went Android.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 22:59 1

48. MartyK (Posts: 820; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

Well everyone who has been around a long time and witness the fall of great companies, try to warn all you true Blue Nokian that they Window lovers and MS. Was out to take the company you love, but you boys didn't listen, now Nokia is no more.

Then to have people claim it was a good decision to go with Window is beyond intelligent to me, instead of turning that Titanic around, full stream ahead shouts Window lovers. So sad

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 22:14

71. maxima (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)

You're wrong!! Had Nokia use Android, they would be still in business.
Windows phone is a joke! Why would anyone buy or use one? It's no wonder why Windows phone don't sell as well as Android and iphone on any carrier, and the phone manufacturers know this all to well. I use Windows on my PCs, but I will not use it on my mobile devices.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 16:56 9

2. garyyad (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 May 2012)

I WISH.....

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 16:56 19

3. Seo_Joo_Hyun (Posts: 65; Member since: 14 Jul 2013)

they would be dominating the android market if they did go with it

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 16:59 6

4. hassoups (Posts: 473; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)

yeh right.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:07 16

9. Seo_Joo_Hyun (Posts: 65; Member since: 14 Jul 2013)

no joke i'm dead serious

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 02:52 1

62. lalalaman (Posts: 631; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)

if they had 3yrs back...no way now

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:22 2

11. brrunopt (Posts: 742; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

just like HTC...

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:56 1

18. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

They would be too if it weren't for their crappy Evo phones that everyone complained about, or the Thunderbolt.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:32 4

23. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

EVO was actually a good phone but they had some real duds to follow it up with. 3D was nothing but gimmick and the Shift had horrible app storage space. HTC had the first 4G phone and lost all the momentum it gave them.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:47 3

24. Finalflash (Posts: 3108; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

They had great devices for the most part, just bad management. Too many small tedious changes between very similar devices. Carrier exclusivity with carriers who weren't pushing their devices. Bad over bloated skins that hampered the whole phone. They screwed their own position.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:57 5

19. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

HTC didn't go down because of Android. It was because of bad management, no vision, no innovation, and stale UI. And it look like they're about to make the same mistake twice. The HTC One is a great phone, but 8 ultra pixels would have been much better. Blink feed should be removeable and the HTC logo should be active. It's a good phone, but they seem to get in their own way most of the time.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:35 4

31. lyndon420 (Posts: 4404; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Don't forget that htc spent a couple years there getting raped in the courts by apple - back when htc was the threat instead of Samsung.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 20:51 1

34. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)


posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:57

45. nlbates66 (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)

yeah, absolutely don't understand why they put a logo there instead of using the spot for a button.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:35

39. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Quite so. Remember, HTC made the first Android phone, and some of the earliest appealing ones. I had a T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Desire Z) and HTC Sensations, and as media and mobile game players they were good, but pretty unreliable, and crap as phones, their primary function. I'm not sure if it was the clusterf••k that was the gap between 2.3 and 4.0, that 2.3 barely made it on most phones in a reasonable amount of time, Sense 4.5 being terrible, or the software/battery issues they were having. I suspect they got too big for them to handle themselves, which is where Samsung succeeded, and something Nokia's been great at - except for certain batteries - for almost two decades.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:09 4

20. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

That's funny. Nokia can't even succeed in WP where they're the only ones actually selling them, do you really think Nokia would have a chance in an OS that's overflowing with competition?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:02 5

27. Finalflash (Posts: 3108; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Yes they would, because it is an OS that is in demand. The dumbest argument that the Nokia/WP fans make is that they went with WP "only" to make money and differentiate. You can differentiate all you want, but if you're selling something no one wants then you're not gonna sell regardless. If they sold both factions then they would be completely covered. Yes it costs more to support both but they were a fairly huge company with what were deep pockets. They had to wait 3 years for WP 8 while they slowly sunk and were finally given an OS that was too far behind in ecosystem. Going with WP only was the dumbest thing they could have done all for pennies from Microsoft. MS just made back all the money they gave to Nokia and them some. Gave them 2 billion to shrink their value by about 80+ billion, buy major chunk for 7.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:04

35. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

So just because Android is in demand means Nokia will dominate the market if they happen to enter in it? That's ridiculous. If that were true, every single major Android OEM would have a very decent amount of market share, and Samsung wouldn't be dominating everyone.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 23:04

49. MartyK (Posts: 820; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

No, what's funny is how and why Nokia would listen to Microsoft, I mean why would the let them run their company?

Microsoft destroy their chance in the mobile world, why would any company let them run their company?

It's like Samsung allowing Sanyo to run their company..... lol

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:01 1

5. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Wouldn't make much sense for them to go Android with Elop at the helm.

I'd rather they bring back Sailfish, aka Meego.

But fret not! In three years Nokia can start to make phones again if they want.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:03 5

7. papss (unregistered)

Another award winning article by Michael..of course they tested units... Geez captain obvious say it isn't true. For a company you have to look at all options.. Do you really think they would just do WP and not ever weigh the option of going android too?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:06 6

8. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Judging by elop, yes. He already had other in house options like the N9, which became the inferior Lumia. You know, the phone that outsold all their WPs at the time?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:11 5

10. papss (unregistered)

Listen you can hate on Elop but he can't do a thing without he board saying okay... It takes more than him saying yes. The Lumia line is a great line no matter the sales.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:31 3

14. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Sure, and if the board was really in control they should have fired him after his wonderful burning memo sent Nokia in a free fall.

Lumia line is a major regression in refinement and features, compared to everything else Nokia made.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:28 1

38. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

As an admitted and proud Nokia fan and repeat owner (first was a 3590, just bought a Lumia 925 in July, see my profile for the complete list), I have to strongly and vehemently disagree about the Lumias being a regression in terms of refinement. I'll agree on the features, somewhat, at least in terms of USB OTG, built-in FM broadcaster, IR blaster (on older models), and onboard file/folder management are still missing and still things I'd like, but not necessary anymore with Bluetooth and NFC and easy computer connection (Zune and the new WP app are miles better than the old Ovi Suite, which was still among the best on the market (and anything is better than itunes or only using a file manager rather than a GUI/program that sorts and organizes for you).
To elaborate on what I started to say, the refinement is definitely better on the Lumias. My 925 and 900 feel solid and unyielding all over, whereas my 701, C7, and 5230 had a few places that felt flimsy or cheap. One of my 5230s had the internal power connector fail (not sure if damaged while being charged or internal flaw), but it definitely screamed "cost-cutting" in a few places, especially the screen. Don't get me wrong, they were great phones in their day and I liked them a lot - still have them all in functional condition, in fact, as redundant backups and loaners - but in all honesty, the Lumias beat them hands-down. Now I will grant that the older phones were made in greater volumes, hence the quality being just above a modern Samsung, plus they had removable parts like the battery covers, but even the Lumia 810/820/822 and 620/625 have removable covers that feel and look much better than their ancestors.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:44 1

41. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Yeah, rather disappointingly, Michael Heller seems to be on an anti-Nokia/Microsoft streak of late. I wonder why? He did that excellent series about switching to WP (one of the Samsung Focus models, I believe) years ago, and he really seemed mostly unbiased and rational, as far as bloggers and tech journalists go.

What happened?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 23:17

50. MartyK (Posts: 820; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


What happen is reality, the writing on the wall, like a lot of people he was under the belief, that Microsoft would lead Nokia to the number one position over Andriod.

He did not take the time to look around the Internet and see how the followers of Android was mob deep.. He should had came over to xda community and witness all the great things happening to Android, but like you he refuseto face reality, but he's smart enough to know he was wrong, unlike Nokians, they have nothing left. Because of Ms and their followers, like a virus they consume the host. Lol

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 01:29 2

59. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Too quick on the draw eh minute man? He stated that Nokia had been testing Android OS BEFORE THE DEAL TO SELL THE COMPANY TO MS. Got to love these defended of the crown, spray and pray type of comments on here. Go back and read the bloody article before making comments that make you look a lot less than you are good sir. Kind of breaks your entire tired comment into small impossible to put back together pieces eh? The rest of your atta boy buddies should also read before just thumbing up comments that are wrong on all accounts. PA comments section, barrel of laughs at times.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:25

12. madmikepr (Posts: 138; Member since: 09 Aug 2011)

the n9 wasn't android was meego... ?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:25 3

13. Penywyz (banned) (Posts: 255; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)

Oh that's so sad, what could have been... :(

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:41

15. promise7 (Posts: 877; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)

i doubt they were going to abandon windows. most likely they were going to make both. if they did start to make android phones with low off contract prices like some of the nokia models then i could see them making a splash in the tough android market.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 17:56 1

17. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

The acquisition was essentially a negotiated hostile takeover, in that instead of paying $1B a year to keep Nokia exclusively WP, they could buy Nokia's D&S unit for 5 years' worth of investment. Sound, shrewd, and savvy business move.

As for Nokia testing android, I only ever understood them to try it around 2010/11 and finding it woefully inadequate for Nokia's high standards, hence the development of the short-lived MeeGo Harmattan. Android is dominant now, but as palm, apple, blackberry, Kodak, and IBM have proved, even seemingly undefeatable giants fall. I'm glad Nokia didn't make any, because there's no assurance that they wouldn't be as bad or worse off then they are now - which they probably would have been being cash-strapped and scroogle being unwilling to help with any transition for the world's then-biggest (and still second-biggest) phone manufacturer.

In all honesty, how many androners here would have bought a Nokia Android phone instead of what they bought? Presuming that they used the exact hardware that prior Lumias came with? I'm a Nokia loyalist but given the choice between WP and androne, I would have (and did, twice now) chosen WP

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:00 2

26. bwhiting (Posts: 188; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)

Valid point for that statement...I would of chosen their WP than anything else. Android wise I stick to Motorola or LG for those devices. I would say that it would be best that they kept with the WP instead because financially it would be more of a benfit for them.

All in all, at least they got some profit from going with WP instead of with Android because not many would even buy it.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 23:24

52. MartyK (Posts: 820; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

How many you ask would brought a Nokia? ...I would say 80% would had,
Again please listen ....

Andriod lovers loves power and hardwares. We love to modify our devices, every article ever written had something to do with spec.

Samsung won the Android Market because they went with the best spec.
Touch wiz, we remove that crappie ui from the device, go over to xda and you will see the real heart of Android.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:24

22. 1david (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Sep 2013)

people were waiting to see Nokia producing an android phone mostly in Nigeria, please make it done!!!

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 18:48 1

25. Kishin (Posts: 704; Member since: 30 May 2013)

Its 2 late to join android cause when people talk about android they only see samsung in the picture no other phones

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:18 2

37. aditya.k (Posts: 493; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)

Nope. I always think of Sony! :)

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:05 1

28. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2275; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)

Android seems too cheap of an OS, to be on a premuim devics like NOKia, idk.. i dont think it will function right,,,,IMO

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:40 2

40. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

You are quite right. Nokia looked into it around 2010 and found it awful, and during negotiations with google, insisted that they be given free rein to clean up and optimize the OS, in exchange for google financially assisting them through the transition from Symbian since Nokia wouldn't release any new phone until the OS was optimal (legendary Nokia QC and UI/UX concerns). Google refused both financial help and access to the OS's guts, and the rest is history.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 23:49 1

56. MartyK (Posts: 820; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

I bet ex employee of Nokia don't think so now, Nokia did think it was to good ...rip Nokia. Lol

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:17 1

29. Blazers (Posts: 430; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

A Nokia Android phone would have probably been skinned to look like Symbian Belle (which is a good thing). They could have carved out a place for themselves as an alternative from TW and AOSP.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:37

32. lyndon420 (Posts: 4404; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Why did ms know about this? It's none of their business what another business does with their business.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 19:50 4

33. Blazers (Posts: 430; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

It was probably Elop who kept MS informed of everything Nokia did. He was Microsofts boy from the beginning.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:17

36. aditya.k (Posts: 493; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)

What if Lumia 1520 was actually an Android powered device and MS bought Nokia on time to make it a WP8 device!? :/ :P

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 21:56 1

44. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

It wouldn't be called a Lumia then.

posted on 14 Sep 2013, 09:52

68. aditya.k (Posts: 493; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)

I never said it would be called Lumia 1520, I just referred to it with the name its known!

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 22:05

46. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Just for the hell of it, I want to see Nokia make a 6" pure-android 4.4 with the 1020's camera system and apps (presuming they can be made to work on android), full HD screen (or 4K, for the hell of it), lots of cores and RAM, offer no subsidy and perhaps restricted production volumes and/or high price tag ($700-1000) just to either say they made an android phone, and test the resolve and commitment of the whiners saying they'd absolutely buy a Nokia phone with android. At the very least, it would be amusing, and possibly scare the other OEMs and make them either show respect or work to build a competitive model.

TL;DR: Nokia sticks Android on the rumored Lumia 1520 "Bandit/Beastie" without a subsidy and stands by with popcorn to see the chips fall.

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