Can Nokia Avoid Android for Much Longer?

With a number of mixed reviews to date, it doesn't appear that MeeGo will solve Nokia's competitive problems in the US -- or maybe anywhere else. Among smartphone owners and would-be smartphone buyers Nokia isn't on the radar in the US market. Arguably the weakness is not the hardware but the mobile OS.

Financial analysts have been urging Nokia (and RIM) to adopt Android going foward. However an outgoing Nokia executive was very critical of the idea previously:

A Financial Times interview with Anssi Vanjoki, the departing chief of Nokia’s smartphone division, said that hardware OEMs who've adopted Android (e.g., Motorola, Samsung) are like "Finnish boys who'pee in their pants' for warmth in the winter. Temporary relief is followed by an even worse predicament."

Vanjoki argued that while there would be some immediate gains and cost savings, in the long term adopting Android would be destructive of Nokia. Adopting Android, he argued, would turn Nokia into "a commoditised box-maker like Dell, scrapping for market share with rivals that all use Android and so seem more or less the same."

Android chief Andy Rubin suggested in a recent conference appearance that it the wake of management changes at Nokia the company might be open to Android. Rubin hinted Google and Nokia might already be talking about the hardware OEM using the Google OS: 

Asked pointedly whether Google has discussed Android with Nokia, Rubin answered: "I think the company has new leadership and ... they are evaluating what their options are ... I'm a big proponent of Android and I hope they adopt it."

About whether a meeting took place, Rubin only said: "I'm not going to talk in detail."

A Nokia spokeswoman refused to comment Wednesday on whether executives from the two firms have discussed Android adoption by Nokia.

Recent comScore estimates show that Nokia has a pesence in the feature phone market in the US but almost none in the smartphone segment. 

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If the world's largest handset OEM were to adopt Android it would dramatically boost the OS and could build Nokia's share in the US. But it would turn the Finnish company into "a commoditised box-maker like Dell." The question is whether Nokia will have any choice.