Nokia Needs Android: Guest Editorial by @evleaks

With the launch of the Lumia 925 “Catwalk,” Nokia has only further cemented itself as one of the elite industrial designers of modern smartphones. Perhaps only Apple (and now, HTC?) puts more care into the form and function of its products than the proud Finnish manufacturer — which is why it’s a pity, frankly, to see these beautiful handsets sit unsold, while cookie-cutter, plastic-fantastic, budget Android phones fly off the shelves. Windows Phone is a fine — in many ways, superior — operating system, but it is not what Nokia needs right now. Nokia needs Android.

The fact is, Nokia is now pushing out the vast majority of Windows Phones. You can look at that two ways: either Windows Phone lovers vastly prefer Nokia to the handful of other OEMs (certainly a possibility), or — as I suspect — most of Nokia’s sales are to Nokia fans, who adopt Microsoft’s platform out of necessity.

If this latter supposition is in fact empirically accurate, then Nokia is really shooting itself in the foot by (sorry to frame it this way, WP fans) propping up a marginally popular OS at the expense of its own market share and financial health. Because of an agreement and a very risky, “no-plan-B” strategy employed by Nokia management, the company now finds itself trying to sell hardware in spite of the software it runs, not because of it.

The company does what it can with feature-laden exclusives and add-ons, but (again, sorry here) it is starting to feel akin to painting lipstick on a pig (and I only mean that with respect to WP’s relative popularity, not the quality or features of the platform itself).

If Espoo wants to return to its former glory, as one of — if not the most — preeminent telecommunications leaders in the world, it needs to give the public what it wants to buy. And right now, the public wants to buy Android-powered devices, from huge phablets to even bigger tablets to forgettable entry-level handsets.

But they also want their Android wrapped in something beautiful, and that is where Nokia comes in. Match up the company’s design language, manufacturing prowess, and photographic cred, with the popularity, flexibility, and ready support of the Android platform, and suddenly you have phones that are nearly irresistible to many people with Samsung/LG fatigue.

Nokia’s had over two years now to implement its Windows Phone strategy, and while that time has produced some of the greatest handsets the industry has ever known, sales have not followed suit. At the end of the day, Nokia needs to look out for Nokia, not for Microsoft (unless Microsoft buys all or part of Nokia, which might not be a bad idea at all). At this point in the game, that probably means some unpopular decisions and uncomfortable conversations.


  • B_Sack

    Nokia needs Android like they need a bad rash.

  • http://twitter.com/tiggscolo Tigger Olsen

    I will tell you my next phone is a Nokia, it will be my first Nokia ever – I am buying it because it is the best phone with the Windows Phone operating system.

  • pilkunnussija

    Ummm. I see Nokia’s products being sold out constantly… how would Andoid help with the supply problem?

    • evleaks

      With all due respect, if you are referring to Finnish shops, then the example is not very pertinent.

      • pilkunnussija

        I congratulate you if you are able to order your Lumia 521 online. And if you had read the Q4 report, they had failed to anticipate the demand for L920, more devices would have been sold if there had been more supply. Also, you may want to check the Indian mobile phone sellers, who have had serious troubles meeting the demand of L520. Flipkart for instance.

        Also, it seems to me that “normal” customers aren’t dying for Android OS. They are happy if the phone has all the basic apps, good camera and dialing quality. And why wouldn’t Nokia want to take the chance to differentiate itself from the Android devices? Apple was able to build the ecosystem from the scratch and I see no reason why MS couldn’t do it too, as it holds already around 90% of the computer OS market share. It is much easier to integrate the mobile experience with desktop experience via Win 8 in my opinion. I believe it’s what the consumers will want in the end, and as WP increases its popularity, the grapevine will do the rest. Another problem is that the Android experience seems to be quite bad, if the hardware isn’t sufficient. One can’t expect to run Android on Lumia 520 (for example) as smoothly as Win 8 does. This makes the manufacturing of the phone cheaper, too, as you don’t need quad-core etc. to run even the basic tasks.

        My 2 cents.

  • http://twitter.com/TimucinUzun Timucin Uzun

    I think nokia can with wp gain around 10-12,5% market share but not more. therefore is nokia satisfied with that? I dont think so they should do android and combined with meego look and features like no keys! all people who have iphone or s3 are saying ,when they see my wp that is has huge bezels and they really dislike it. with non hardware keys and android with an meego touch like system i think they could gain double wp market share in a year!

    but nokia maybe because of elop are 10000% agains android. soo what else?

    They should how sailfish is selling and when its very good selling they should lease it or whatever it runs with all goo big apps from android and even more has a good layout and very new.!

    so nokia wp alone wont bring you back to number one but with android or sailfish you can do it!

  • Adam

    95% of Android marketshare is owned by Samsung…how the hell is Nokia supposed to compete with that if they aren’t even relevant on the market yet?

  • cristianer

    I want a 808 pureview but with Android and 1080p screen.

  • shankkyy

    Nokia now doing gr8 with windows&asha line.. They just need to correct there delivery time. Android will not solve nokia issue as der r too many cooks lined up to sell almost identical stuffs..

  • http://twitter.com/EJ1024 BRUU™

    Whoever wrote this is DUMB**

  • Eric Ramos

    It wouldn’t hurt them if they would just release 1 phone even with stock Android it would do very well. I love Nokia hardware but dislike windows phone and its limited supply of apps. I would love to see one of they’re beautiful phones with android.

  • Silverdroid

    I totally agree with this article! I have android myself and I don’t want to buy Nokia phone because of its platform. I live in Finland and all my friends who have bought Nokia has a poblem now.. how to get rid of it. The only people who are buying Nokia here are sworn Nokia users and will not change the mark just because of the principle. I would buy Nokia with Android long time ago and they should’ve do that from the beggining of their downhill.

  • Mohammed Azzam

    Nokia can make an an android phone and adding it’s custom swype skin on it …. That would be great.

  • SymbianFTW

    Remember Symbian OS? It’s failure was Nokia itself.
    When they ditch it for WPOS many
    “nokia fans” moved to iPhone or some Android phone manufacturers.

  • Prasenjit Bist

    i will fuly agree a fool like approach by Nokia management team..give ppl what they want and go home count ur money. Nokia is a business they are not Microsoft’s mother and for god’s sake Elop sud stop this nonsense
    Every one loves Nokia they are master craftsman, their radio technology, camera, industrial design and so many things that make Nokia a darling…
    I see my friends my own family drooling over android but tehnthey complain why the hell nokia is not making an android phone. i can bet my life’s earning u know that teh day Nokia makes nothing extra jst a Nokia Lumia 925 with android no skinning nothing just a lumia 925 with pureview camera and android.. samsug is finished…
    but nokia is not doing justice to its own talent and heritage….

  • adam

    U just can try it, Nokia ! Why should to be ashamed?? XD

  • Mwirigi

    HTC Already makes beautiful hardware running android. Where are they now?