updated 11:35 pm EDT, Sun July 5, 2009
Nokia May Turn to Android
Nokia is breaking from Symbian and about to use Android for one of its next smartphones, according to industry sources. A touchscreen, smartphone-class device is claimed by the Guardian to be later in development and likely to be unveiled at Nokia World in September. Its features are unknown beyond the use of the Google platform.
While no direct evidence corroborates the claim, the rumor comes just after Nokia and Intel have signed a partnership to produce a new kind of device beyond its typical lineup. It also follows a rumor that Nokia is planning an Android netbook, hinting that the company may have already reduced its dependence on in-house operating systems by declining to use its own Maemo Linux interface.
Symbian is also now independent of Nokia and is moving towards open-source code, reducing the company's dependence on the software.
Regardless of the project, any such shift would be a radical one for Nokia. Outside of its Maemo-based Internet tablets, every Nokia device in recent years has run some variant of Symbian and is directly responsible for the operating system's market share lead; in addition to Nokia, some Samsung devices also run the software. However, its insistence on the aging operating system has led it to cede smartphone share rapidly, particularly to more agile companies like Apple and RIM. Moving to Android would give Nokia a newer, more Internet- and touchscreen-aware platform while maintaining the company's open platform policy.
Questions exist as to whether Android-based Nokia phones would have support within the Ovi Store for apps or would ever get access to Nokia's music store or Comes With Music, which so far are dependent on Windows Media files that Android can't recognize but which may switch to MP3s next year.