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NYT: Nokia tested Android phones before Microsoft deal

It's a story that should surprise nobody. We're hearing how Nokia was testing Android on their Lumia line prior to making a deal with Microsoft early this month. The New York Times says — via unnamed sources declined to be identified — that Nokia had Android up and running on their hardware long before Microsoft negotiations began.

Supposedly building Android phones wasn't used as a bargaining position during talks with Microsoft. but certainly both sides had to be aware. Every company has a fall-back solution, and and open-source, popular and easy-to-port piece of software like Android makes perfect sense.

In any case, since Microsoft now owns the portion of Nokia that builds phones, we'll never know exactly how things went down, or how close this was to every happening. I imagine looking back at the balance sheets has more than a few Nokia executives wishing it had come to pass.

Source: New York Times

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Zing! That last sentence is almost poetic. I always thought Nokia had (and still has) superlative hardware. Couple that with Android, and you have a veritable nerdgasm. Posted via Android Central App
  • Tell me about it... that would have been a match made in heaven! And judging by what they added to the WP8 development, they wouldn't have ruined Android with crappy bloatware.
  • I would have liked to see Nokia's superior location services as Android natives. Would have lifted the platform onto a new level.
  • I loved my N900. However the Nexus One came out almost immediately after and had almost double the CPU. Posted via my GT-I9505G
  • I would have loved an Android version of the Lumia 1020. I like the 1020, but I dont like WP8. I think Microsoft ruined this dream for me. Posted via Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
  • There's still hope. It would be funny if Lumia devices ended up like the HP tablet when it got popular because people figured out how to put Android on it. StealthDroid - Working in the Nexus Lab
  • Maybe itll be like the Motorola Pipeline after the Google purchase where there was too much time and money already spent and there were already Android phones being produced to go to market and they have 14 months of pipeline to go through and go to market or they will take a huge hit by not releasing them, wishful thinking, I know
  • Now we'll never know what it would have been like to own a nokia phone with android. What a sad ending.
  • i completely agree. ill always have fond memories of nokia phones and i just wish they hadve joined the android community. theyve always built great phones
  • Actually you're incorrect.
    Microsoft does NOT own anything. The deal with Nokia is far from being done. First it has to be approved by Nokia shareholders (who have been asking for Android and Elop's head for months). And then it has to be approved by Finnish and European authorities. So there's absolutely no certainty that Microsoft will actually be able to finish the deal they want.
    It's all in the hands of the authorities and shareholders...and believe me, they're not that happy with the MS proposed deal (not to mention they can always add to that criminal investigations to the business practices of Stephen Elop as CEO of Nokia). I'm personally hoping the deal fails. I have no wish to leave Nokia (it's the only reason I'm using WP8) and I'm pretty sure with their level of commitment, Android Nokia's would be just awesome (Samsung on the other hand would be in a pretty nice nightmare, though...)
  • What authorities will stop a merger of two losers?
  • The ftc Posted via Android Central App
  • Thats American. This will be an EU decision. Even if the FTC had a say, they'd relish bringing another company to the US. Posted via my GT-I9505G
  • There's always Newkia whose trying to recruit as many nokia hardware employees as possible, they plan on making android and even without the original design patents I believe that Nokia employees can once again amaze us with their innovative skills.
  • possibly those guys are the sources.
  • That's what I was thinking. The Newkia guys may very well be the same team that created this lovely unicorn of a phone. I'm honestly not hopeful anything will come out of the Newkia project (it seems like a patent and litigation nightmare) but you never know. I still wonder about how awesome an Android-powered Nokia would have been.
  • +1 Posted from the old Google Nexus 7 via Android Central App
  • sure..whatevet tickles the hairs on your sAck
  • How sad! *pours one out*
  • Always wanted a Nokia bot... v¡a ACapp njo¡!
  • I bet Nokia wish they could have a do over! Posted via Android Central App
  • Jerry, you used that picture because you're so mad at smartphone cameras right now, didn't ya? Posted via Android Central App
  • LOL. Was the only picture of a Nokia device at the right size and Aspect ratio I could find.  I try not to touch the things, all that Microsoft won't wash off with normal soap and water :)
  • Well, maybe a bit of both OSs would be good. But I'm generally pleased that Nokia is the main phone maker of Windows Phone. Actually is annoying the fact that almost anyone releases an Android every week; one more, even Nokia, would be no surprise. People still underestimate Windows Phone, always wishing more Android crap. Sorry, I love Android, but diversion and competition is much welcome. Posted via Android Central App
  • Diversion is good but look @ HTC. They make WP8 and Android phones...imagine HTC or Samsung making iOS phones lol. But one can only imagine.
  • Hahahahaha. I think that if Apple would allow iOS to be ported by other companies, Samsung would go for it pretty fast. But, yes, you're right, one can only imagine... Posted via Android Central App
  • Samsung would be on it like white on rice Posted via Android Central App
  • It didn't use Android only because of Samsung. Google it.
  • Link Posted via Android Central App
  • Posted via Android Central App
  • Can't imagine the top bidding price if this prototype were to land on ebay.
  • yeahhhh +1 :D
  • I'd love a Nokia android phone. I hope the Microsoft deal fizzles out in front of the shareholders s was mentioned earlier. Assuming that was true Posted via Android Central App
  • Imagine a Nokia Android phone with PureView Technology, PureMotion HD+, ClearBlack Display, N9 Swipe UI, Here Maps, Drive+, Transit, City Lens, Nokia Music, Nokia Photography apps- Cinemagraph, Glam Me, Pro Cam, Smart Cam, Creative Studio, Photobeamer, etc. Double tap to wake, Glance Screen and a phone that can survive a Nuclear holocaust
  • Imagine a Nokia Android phone with PureView Technology, PureMotion HD+, ClearBlack Display, N9 Swipe UI, Here Maps, Drive+, Transit, City Lens, Nokia Music, Nokia Photography apps- Cinemagraph, Glam Me, Pro Cam, Smart Cam, Creative Studio, Photobeamer, etc. Double tap to wake, Glance Screen and a phone that can survive a Nuclear holocaust
  • I still don't understand what everyone dislikes about WP8 within the mobile community. In the desktop space I can get it since the average user is two decades older and is unable to embrace the natural evolution of tech as easily. That being said considering the ubiquity of Android I'm glad it cannot lay claim to Nokia at the minimum for purposes of hardware competitiveness. A thriving third OS paired with competitive hardware will provide a healthier mobile environment for without meddlesome government interference. Posted via Android Central App
  • As a WP8 user (because of Nokia) I can tell you(I'm not even going to mention the Apps for those need time): It lacks tons of features that the other two main OS's have .
    Actually, WP8 even lacks features that Symbian had! For example, you can't pick your own tunes for sms/alarm/etc notifications. Something as simple as that. Microsoft has a UserVoice account for users to suggest and vote on features and improvements...that feature is one of the top voted ones since WP7. It's still not on WP8 (rumour says it comes with GDR3...3 years later). Then there's Microsoft and their lack of commitment. If it wasn't for Nokia pushing them and forcing them to update WP8, Windows Phone would be dead just like Windows Mobile. Nokia does everything for Microsoft. They even had to start adding features by themselves to the Lumia phones because Microsoft releases so few updates a year. For a OS still starting, that can't be. You either work faster or you'll struggle until you die. That's why Nokia was probably sick of pushing MS around. That's why MS made the hostile move on Nokia, proposing to buy them and annihilate them. Had Nokia gone with Android instead, all they would need to do was mould the OS to their needs and then put in the same commitment into Apps that took advantage of their hardware.
  • Good points. MS has been slow to update WP8, combined with a lack of user features/options against mature OS's like Android and iOS just doesn't cut it. They definitely do not have a sense of urgency about them.
  • n0pe
  • How long do they continue to build Windows phones? They sure as hell ain't making a profit. Why are the stockholders and executives continue to make Windows phones when their is no profit and sales continue to do shit? How long will they continue to bleed $$$ before they go Android. Android running on Nokia hardware is an instant success, don't they see that? Send out a well built Android device to show the public and see what kind of a response they get, just crazy and very stubborn. I'd love a Nokia built Nexus with 64gb of int storage and a bad ass camera. What a beast. I would be in heaven.
  • Shareholders saw that 2 years ago. They have been claiming for Stephen Elop's head ever since he opted for WP instead of Android. The Executives, on the other hand, were morons.
    Now they are all in hot water: shareholders can be forced to go into Microsoft...and Nokia directors can see shareholders voting against the deal.
    (And we still don't know the opinion of the Finnish government on this...they were always very protective of Nokia) There would be an option though...Google could make a public offer on Nokia to rival with Microsoft's. They already own Motorola, but Nokia, as a brand, has a much bigger impact, specially in markets like Europe and India. I actually wonder why Google never bought Nokia in the first place. Believe me, we, Nokia fans, are not pleased with this decision either. WP is nice but after some time it starts to get really frustrating. It lacks so much that we would rather have Android. Actually...we would even rather have Symbian back than to be subject to Microsoft's whims.
  • I'm pretty sure that Google won't get into a pissing match with Microsoft to buy Nokia. Google and Microsoft have enough cash to be fully functioning international banks. The only thing that a bidding war would do is cause one of them to overpay for Nokia. That's not going to help anyone but Nokia's investors.
  • Hey, Nokia fan here! Agreed to all your points - except the Google-buy-Nokia thing.
  • Seems to little to late for that now Posted via Android Central App
  • I'd rather have symbian...I was a symbian user for a long time and it was really an amazing platform..complex and great apps. You can play and mess with..sooo long Nokia Posted via Android Central App
  • Nokia had been setup for being purchased by Microsoft when Stephen Elop went to Nokia a couple years ago.
  • Yeah, I think everyone saw this coming at that point. It's just kind of surprising to me that it took this long for the deal to happen. I expected it long ago. I'm hoping that the deal is not accepted by the shareholders or the Finnish government. I'd love another Nokia phone, but I refuse to use, let alone purchase, anymore MS products. I only have to use Windows for a couple minutes per night at work, but I always feel filthy afterwards. It's never an efficient or enjoyable experience. And who wants to bet that Don Mattrick is setting Zynga up for the same treatment? I expect in the next months that MS and Zynga will "just happen" to find some common ground. Perhaps Zynga games will be exclusive to XBox and Windows Phone or something like that. Within two years, MS will buy Zynga. Of course, I doubt anyone is going to care about Zynga by then, as if anyone cares about them now, so it probably won't matter anyway. I'm just saying that I'd be suspicious any time a MS executive randomly leaves to become the CEO of another successful company. The whole Elop thing just seems like a template for MS's new business strategy.
  • Nokia could have 10% of the Android market tomorrow without any marketing effort. But of course it has its head so far up its arse that it can't see it.
  • Nokia said "Plan B is that Plan A is to succeed." (plan a being windows phone)
  • plan B was to sell the c0mpany
  • Nokia always had a upper hand in hardware department and couple dat with android u wud have gotten the perfect result. .... Posted via Android Central App
  • Always liked Nokia phones and their hardware but they should have invested in their own OS. Posted via Android Central App
  • So wish this could have happened! Reminds me of some lyrics from a Led Zeppelin song: And if you say to me tomorrow, oh what fun it all would be.
    Then what's to stop us, pretty baby. But What Is And What Should Never Be Posted via my Nexus 10 using the totally awesome Android Central App
  • Newkia: "Take my hand child, come with me, it's to a castle I will take you, where what's to be, they say will be" Posted via Android Central App
  • That makes you sound like Jimmy Savile. Posted via Android Central App
  • I love to have Lumia phone design with android inside. But I have to admit that if Nokia chose android, they will need better hardware to run it smoothly, that leads to lumia 520 620 720 will not succeed like they are now. And 820 920 925 will struggle really hard with other top android phones, let Iphone aside !
  • I would have loved a Nokia with Android.. So sad it never happened.. Posted via Android Central App
  • tested...and apple has tested android to see how it works and feels with their own hardware...means nothing
  • I own a yellow Lumia 920 and the physical build of the phone is outstanding. Windows Phone still has a long long way to go, reading this made me realize that my Lumia 920 would probably be my everyday phone if it had Android on it. As much as I love my Note 2! Posted via Android Central App
  • I previously owned a 3310, then a 3220, then a N85. I was a Nokia faithful but their decision to stick with Windows Phone only was the stupidest and most disappointing decision ever. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
    LG, HTC, Samsung etc made phones with Android or Windows Phone... a smart move.
    You don't put all your eggs in a single basket... especially one as rotten as Microsoft's.
    I currently own a Galaxy S3 but if Nokia/Newkia start making Android phones, I would definitely consider them next time I will buy a phone.
    However, IMHO, the Nokia heads that decided to make only Windows phones should be sacked.