Nokia was working on an Android phone before Microsoft buyout deal

By , Sep 16, 2013

Nokia

In February of 2011, Microsoft and Nokia announced a joint strategic partnership that would see Windows Phone become the principal platform strategy for Nokia’s mobile devices. And the Finnish giant took quite a bit of heat for putting all of its eggs in Microsoft’s basket.

But according to a new report, the company had a plan b: an Android device. Sources familiar with the project say that a team within Nokia had Android up and running on its Lumia handsets “well before” it began buyout negotiations with Microsoft for its mobile phone business…

Nick Wingfield of The New York Times has the scoop:

“Before Microsoft reached a deal to buy Nokia’s phone business, there was a possibility that Nokia could have switched its smartphones to Google’s Android operating system sometime after late 2014.

And now, it is clear that a Nokia Android phone was more than a possibility. It was real. A team within Nokia had Android up and running on the company’s Lumia handsets well before Microsoft and Nokia began negotiating Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone and services business, according to two people briefed on the effort who declined to be identified because the project was confidential. “

Essentially, Nokia was working on an Android device (or multiple devices) in case it decided to flex its option to exit its Microsoft partnership at the end of 2014. Wingfield says that Microsoft executives were aware of the project, but it didn’t have any bearing on buyout negotiations.

So what’s the status of Nokia’s Android phone now? It’s unclear how far along it is, but considering that Microsoft just announced that it’s laying down more than $7 billion for Nokia’s mobile phone and services business, it doesn’t sound like it’s ever going to see the light of day.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem at a press conference in London, UK February 11, 2011. Nokia and Microsoft plan to form a broad strategic partne

Interestingly enough, it looks like while Nokia was experimenting with Android, Microsoft was experimenting with building its own phone. The Verge reports that the company had a secret ‘Surface Phone’ project, headed by Xbox lead Terry Myerson, and several prototypes were built.

While I think it would have been interesting to see both a Nokia-branded Android handset, and a Microsoft-built Surface phone come to market, I have to agree with John Gruber here. How much time and resources did the two companies lose by not marrying together much sooner?

What do you think, would a Nokia Android device have done better than its Windows Phone-based Lumias?

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  • http://www.ideaprison.com/ ideaprison

    “iDownload Blog is focused on delivering iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and iOS news, jailbreak information, reviews as well as guides and tutorials about everything iOS.” So how’s this relevant?

    • Joseph

      They also stated that they blog about relevant things about other OSes, but… This has absolutely no connection to iOS, at all.

    • Melvco

      You’ll notice we cover major stories concerning Google, Samsung and other Apple competitors from time to time, in an effort to paint a more complete picture of the mobile landscape. See:

      http://www.idownloadblog.com/tag/samsung/

      http://www.idownloadblog.com/tag/motorola/

      http://www.idownloadblog.com/tag/microsoft/

      http://www.idownloadblog.com/tag/google/

    • Dani Hayes

      Bring people in for possible ad revenue?? No stories, no site visits, no iDB. It’s futile to point out iDownloadblog as an Apple rumor site anymore, they’re far from “news”. They don’t even know what they are anymore. In a few weeks when Samsung announces another galaxy device iDB will jump all over and just write the word “Apple” just so it correlates.

      “I’m going to checkout a Apple news site to see what a Microsoft is up to. Oh I got it, I’ll checkout iDownloadblog.”

    • Guest

      Why don’t you just skip the article if you don’t want to read it? I don’t get people like you that feel the need to instead, click on the article and lecture iDB on what/who they are in the comment section.

      That said, this is indeed relevant since Nokia and Windows are Apple’s competitors. I, for one, read this article and appreciate the efforts iDB puts in to providing information on the whole mobile landscape, because THAT in turn, affects Apple. And if I don’t like the headline as I’m scrolling, I just don’t click on and read i

    • diggitydang

      Why don’t you just skip the article if you don’t want to read it? I don’t get people like you that feel the need to instead, click on the article and lecture iDB on what/who they are in the comment section.

      That said, this is indeed relevant since Nokia and Windows are Apple’s competitors. I, for one, read this article and appreciate the efforts iDB puts in to providing information on the whole mobile landscape, because THAT in turn, affects Apple. And if I don’t like the headline as I’m scrolling, I just don’t click on and read it, let alone open it, comment on it and spur discussion about it.

    • Dan

      I find it funny when people posts this. If you’re not interested, don’t click on it.

    • ClaudieX X

      Looser Sadness DETECTED !!

  • Sean Cua

    WP 8 > Android so I’m happy with WP based lumias.

    • Osama Muhammed

      said no one ever

    • not a spark

      Enjoy all those apps

      • Moi

        It’s not like you’re going to install all the apps on some store , you just get the ones you need and WP 8 offers that …., I’m an ios user and I really don’t see the AppStore with that huge number of apps as a benefit to ios ( many of that apps are useless and some of them work the same as others ) , this is the truth but for some reason I can’t use a non apple devise !

  • Joseph

    Microsoft obviously didn’t want it to go that direction; a Lumia phone based on Android instead of WP8 would very well slaughter their sales on Lumia WP8 devices.

    • Sean Cua

      I don’t know. If they released an android version of any Lumia phone and it goes cheaper than the WP8 version of the same phone, I’d still buy the WP8 version. And Lumia 520 is slaughtering all the cheap android phone sales out there.

      • Dan

        0.o

      • Sean Cua

        I prefer a stable OS than a customizable one anytime of the day.

      • Dan

        I concur, although you can’t say that Jelly Bean isn’t stable though.

  • KNS

    Those android nokias are now called Newkia, created by former CEO of Nokia Asia-Pacific, Thomas Zilliacus. He started the company soon after the merger between Microsoft and Nokia. Newkia is based out of Singapore.

  • Moi

    This is old news !

  • Abdl

    I pity Nokia :(

  • M Last

    too late

  • Dan

    Too bad, I really would of been interested in an android Lumia, the only thing that prevented me from considering it is the fact it was windows phone.

  • FOFF

    and no on cared