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CES: Nokia Confirms Android Phone Now Under Consideration

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Nokia and Microsoft may not be as cosy together as they were once. The Finnish mobile phone maker said that they had immediately focused on Windows Phone for their handset, but that they do have an open mind to using alternatives in the future. One of the alternatives is Android.

Nokia Lumia 920 might be last Windows Phone based Nokia flagship

When Microsoft and Nokia made the announcement of their partnership in 2011, Nokia made the commitment of using Windows Phone as their primary strategy for smartphones. They also dismissed Android based on the fact that it was too hard to be able to stand out in the crowd. As such, their flagship Nokia Lumia 920 is a Windows Phone 8 handset.

Nokia has paid a lot for their commitment to Windows Phone. They have operated at a loss of around 1.073 billion euros in 2011, along with having quarterly losses throughout 2012. 2012 saw them suffering a loss of around 3 billion euros. Android on the other hand are the most dominant OS globally and they have helped Samsung, who is Nokia is in competition with, to take the crown of being the top smart phone maker. This was a title that Nokia had in the past held for more than 14 years.

In an interview with Ei Pais, a Spanish newspaper, Nokia CEO was asked if they had ruled out Android in 2013. He said that Nokia were considering a move to the platform and some publications posted a Google translation of the answer he gave when was:

In the present war of ecosystems, struggle with Windows Phone. But always think what next, what role does HTML 5, Android … HTML 5 could make the platform is Android, Windows Phone or other, less important in the future, but it is too early.Today we are engaged and satisfied with Microsoft, but any rotation is possible.

TechCrunch managed to get the official transcription of what he actually said. This was:

So, the way I think about it is, in the current war on ecosystems, we are fighting with Windows Phone. That’s what we’re doing. Now, what we’re always doing is asking, how does that evolve? What’s next? What role does HTML5 play? What role does Android or other things play in the future? We’re looking further into the future, but it terms of what we’re bringing to market, and what we’re immediately focused on, we’re focused on Windows Phone.

As you can see there is differences when it comes to emphasis on some of the words, this includes removing the line “any rotation is possible”, which makes it sound as though Nokias choice of operating system could be a case of free for all, when this isn’t the case at all. The official response from Nokia is more measured than the translation from El Pais had been. What is also interesting is that Nokia are not about to close the door in the face of Android.

The wording does make distinction between the current strategy of Nokia, of its focus being on Windows Phone and the immediate future, which is changeable. It puts a question mark over where Nokia could go evolving very soon. Of course the answer he gave is not a commitment to a platform switch, however Microsoft could read between the lines and consider this a warning that they shouldn’t take Nokia for granted. It could also be seen as a sign that things between them are not what they once were.

There have been signs of the affair cooling off for some months. Those who watch tech carefully will tell you how Microsoft didn’t show off the HTC hardware when they launched Windows Phone 8, but instead they chose handsets of Nokia. What could be the cause of any rift between the two has been speculated and it includes Microsoft wanting to build their own hardware, as they did with the Surface tablet. Microsoft are also rumoured to be building their own smartphone hardware.

Whether there is any truth to the rumours remains to be seen, however Redmond have never worried about stepping on the toes of OEMs before. This cannot be reassuring to Nokia, as they have all their eggs in the same basket and could get crushed.

Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, PC, iPhone and Android games keep Berke busy at work all day. Honestly though we’re not sure why we’re paying him as it should be the other way around.