Nokia may actually make an Android phone

Posted by Mark Raby

It looks like pigs can fly and hell has frozen over, because Nokia has hinted that it might actually ditch its own mobile operating system to make a phone that runs on Android.

That's what people are interpreting from a recent earnings report, in which Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the company is considering "multiple ecosystem patterns." That would be a shift from its current strategy which is to only use its own first-party software.

Nokia has been dying in recent years, especially in parts of the world where Android and the iPhone have made a splash. It still holds a monopolistic position in developing nations around the world, and because of that it has the highest cell phone market share on the planet, but its presence is dwindling in the areas that really matter.

When asked before, the company staunchly said it would never think of developing a phone with Android, or any other third-party platform. To date, it has only used Symbian, an operating system that it owns.

In fact, Symbian used to be pretty popular. Nokia actually licenses it out to other manufacturers to use on their phones. But the number of companies that do that now has shrunk to almost zero. And head to a mobile retailer in the US, you'll be hard pressed to find any Nokia handsets.

Nokia has been on somewhat of an attitude shift since Elop took the CEO spot, replacing a long-time veteran of the company that was too entrenched in the way things used to be. Elop is facing the reality that Nokia is going down the drain in this world of Android and iPhone.

In fact, Nokia's big saving grace was supposed to be the X7 phone, a smartphone with a new version of Symbian and a fleshed-out app store. But it had to cancel that phone's launch in the US because mobile carriers weren't interested, wouldn't offer subsidies, and wouldn't even give it shelf space in retail stores.

Ouch.

However, people do still know the name Nokia, and it is a very creative and smart phone manufacturer. If it actually got with the times and used Android, it could stand a chance at considerable growth.