Jul 6th, 2009

The rumor mill is twirling at full speed this Monday morning as The Guardian reports that Nokia is producing an Android Phone in what they call “a strategic U-turn” for the world’s largest phone manufacturer. Nokia quickly and flatly denied the rumor, offering the following statement:

There is no truth to this story whatsoever. It is a well known fact that Symbian is our platform of choice for smartphones.

We didn’t think so.

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One year ago Nokia purchased their partners stake in Symbian – their mobile operating system of choice – marking the birth of the Symbian foundation. At the time, the competitive pressures of Android, LiMo Foundation and of course the iPhone was threatening the future of Nokia’s dominance. So they promised to Open Souce the operating system and claimed the Symbian Foundation would work over the next 2 years to build their competing open source mobile OS.

It didn’t take but a month for the rumor mills to churn furiously, spawning claims that Android and Symbian would merge. While a possibly pleasant pipe dream it may have been, Dan Frommer from Silicon Alley Insider explained it best:

“Technical hurdle: You can’t just smoosh two operating systems together. Business hurdle: It’s hard to see either company giving up on their OS right now.”

At this point HTC and Samsung are the only major manufacturers to release Android Phones. Nokia launching an Android Phone would largely be seen as a white flag of defeat. It just isn’t going to happen. Nokia’s immediate and concrete statement negating the rumor that they have an Android Phone in development isn’t likely a cover up to keep their plans quiet – Nokia is still working diligently to bring an Open Source Symbian product to the masses. But it will take time.

Nokia sees the success Google is enjoying with Android. They aren’t too happy with the new competition from Google and they aren’t shy about it either – remember what they said at the N97 Announcement?

Don’t count Nokia out. They aren’t just an industry giant, they are the #1 mobile phone manufacturer in the world. If Palm can go from a limping sloth to the most buzzworthy behemoth overnight, imagine what Nokia has the potential to accomplish. They are taking their time. They are plotting, planning and developing in the background. They have an Open Source project in the works that won’t launch for quite a long time… but one thing is for sure:

Nokia isn’t making an Android Phone.

Is that at their own peril? Not at all… because if and when they decide turning on the Android faucet is necessary, they have the power to create quite an immediate flood. While I continue to say that competition is good, I can’t deny that seeing a Nokia Android phone would be pretty amazing. But as long as Symbian Foundation’s Open Source Mobile OS alive and well… it ain’t gonna happen.

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