Nokia should welcome Android rumors and take a hint

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: December 3, 2012

Currently, Nokia isn't in the best state. While the company's stock prices are bouncing back a little following the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 launch, the company is burning through money like it's nobody's business. CEO Stephen Elop has managed to cut the company's quarterly losses to below $1 billion for the first time in a year.

But in no way is Nokia in the clear yet. It has yet to gain a steady foothold with its biggest gambit, Windows Phone.

Earlier this year, Samsung ended Nokia's 14-year run as the world's largest cell phone maker. And Nokia's position in the smartphone industry is unremarkable. While the Lumia devices they have made are great devices, they've yet to truly muster a significant following or market share.

Many thought Nokia's decision to get in bed with Microsoft would only serve the Finnish company well. Pulling in billions of dollars to crate flagship phones for Microsoft's up-and-coming platform seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. But with two Lumia launches now behind them, it appears as if that may have been a gamble gone bad.

At the Nokia Lumia 920/820 press event in September, Microsoft and Nokia joined forces and shared the stage to show off Nokia's new flagship phones. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just two weeks later, though, Microsoft publicly aired some dirty laundry. The $1 billion partnership between Microsoft and Nokia meant effectively moot as Microsoft and HTC dubbed the Windows Phone 8X the lead device for the upcoming software launch.

It's too soon to say whether Nokia is going to pull through this turbulence before it gets the best of the manufacturer or whether Nokia is going to follow in Research In Motion's footsteps and effectively fall off the map for a couple years before making a grand re-entry a few years later. (RIM is still working on the latter.)

On Friday, however, a LinkedIn job listing for Nokia caused a tiny stir. The job listing revealed that Nokia is in search of an expert Linux programmer. Considering the MeeGo project was scrapped and the only Linux-based mobile operating system that would make sense for Nokia to take part of is Android, Gizmodo alleged that this may be a tell-tale that the Nokia Microsoft partnership has gone sour. Many assumed Nokia may be eyeing Google's tiny green robot – which is currently thriving and completely dominating the market – for refuge.

Alas, an official statement from the company's VP of Media Relations, Doug Dawson, reveals that the job listing is for an Android developer so Nokia can further its work on the HERE Maps, which has already been slated for iOS and Android.

Fine. Understood. No big deal.

This is not the first time a job listing has led to mass speculation about a new direction for a company, and it probably won't be the last. If nothing else, though, this should be a major hint to Nokia (as if the years of Nokia fans begging for an Android phone wasn't enough).

Both Nokia and Windows Phone are struggling. Initially, we thought they may be the perfect pair, that Nokia would be Windows Phone's saving grace and vice versa. Clearly, that is not the case as Nokia's latest flagship, the Lumia 920, is doing little to change the state of Windows Phone and the company's smartphone performance in the market. Not to mention, it appears as if Microsoft isn't being forthright with Nokia and may have lost interest with the Finnish firm after the poor performance of its first Lumia launch.

At face value, the partnership is stale and unfruitful. It hasn't paid off after a year and a half and two generations of Lumia smartphones. If I were Stephen Elop, I would be looking elsewhere, somewhere there is demand for the company's topnotch products. I would be looking to Android.

Over the last two years, consumers have been crying out for Nokia to bring an Android smartphone to fruition. Yet Nokia has continued to turn its back on Google's mobile platform, shooting down every last hope of a Nokia-branded Android smartphone. To be completely honest, I can't wrap my head around why.

You may recall the Nokia N9, which ran the Linux-based OS MeeGo. After Nokia announced there would be no more MeeGo phones after the N9 and they would not continue to support the OS, many purchased only purchased an N9 in hopes of loading Android on it. Sure enough, not long after the N9 launch, third-party developers hacked Android onto the N9, though the hardware was severely outdated.

Imagine a Lumia 920 running purely stock Android. It's a beautiful idea, and I would probably reconsider my stance on the Lumia 920 if it came in an Android flavor. There is demand for Nokia-made Android phones, and if Nokia ever indulged, I imagine they would have no problem moving units.

What say you, folks? Would you buy a Nokia phone if it ran Android instead of Windows Phone 8? Or should Nokia stick with Microsoft and Windows Phone? I say the partnership isn't working out and Microsoft isn't as dedicated to Nokia as it first seems. Android and Nokia all the way!