updated 03:35 pm EDT, Tue October 5, 2010
Google chief tried to persuade Nokia on Android
Google chief Eric Schmidt tried to persuade Nokia to use Android on its devices last week, a contact said today. Just as Nokia's MeeGo chief was resigning, Schmidt is believed to have been talking to new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop about using Google's mobile OS. Elop's exact answer wasn't known, but the TechCrunch insider said MeeGo is still the focus and thus that Schmidt didn't make significant headway.
If it arrived at all, Android would be a stopgap to put on a device until MeeGo was finished, the source said. The hardware design for the first MeeGo phone, the N9, is largely complete but has yet to be met by a finished release of MeeGo itself. Nokia is using a heavily customized version of MeeGo designed for smartphone-sized touchscreens.
Publicly, Nokia has shot down the idea as a short-term solution that would create much deeper problems in the end. Nokia has been willing to create orphan devices such as the N900 that run a one-off version of an OS, but Android would both be largely outside of Nokia's control and would compete directly with the Ovi Store and other services on MeeGo and Symbian phones.
Calls to at least consider Android are nonetheless growing. Nokia has been steadily losing share to not only Android phones but also the iPhone, which has been impacting Nokia's footprint since launch in June 2007. Nokia is at least partly addressing this with modern, multi-touch phones like the just shipping N8 as well as the E7, but it continues to use Symbian and has been chastised for having a more difficult development environment and a scarcity of quality apps.