Nokia seems to have been the victim of a poorly translated story that has led to rumours that the smartphone manufacturer could be making a move towards producing an Android handset in the near future.
Stephen Elop, CEO of the Finnish firm, gave an interview to Spanish newspaper El Pais recently in which the Nokia boss was quoted as saying: “We are always thinking about what’s coming next, what will be the role of HTML 5, Android… Today we are committed and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible.”
When translated into English, the quote led to extensive speculation about the manufacturer’s future plans, with many commentators suggesting that that the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft may not be as exclusive as has long been thought.
However, Elop’s paymasters have stepped in with their own version of the story and offered a different translation of what was published, according to tech news site Neowin.
In the version endorsed by the Finnish firm, Elop says: “What’s next? What role does HTML5 play? What role does Android or other things play in the future?
“We’re looking further into the future, but in terms of what we’re bringing to market, and what we’re immediately focused on, we’re focused on Windows Phone.”
While this seems to close off the issue, with Nokia’s translation offering a much less ambiguous view of the company’s future plans, it isn’t the first time that Elop’s firm has had to deny rumours that it may be looking towards Android.
Little over a month ago, the smartphone rumour mill went into overdrive when a job advert was posted on Nokia’s website seeking a Linux developer. Windows Phone 8, the firm’s current platform of choice, does not employ Linux as its base, whereas Android does.
Nokia quickly denied any suggestions that it was looking for people to work on a phone for Google’s platform, instead stating that the position was related to the plan to port the firm’s Here maps to other operating systems.
So, with a succession of stories emerging that Nokia has had to quickly deny, is there any chance that the Finnish firm may produce an Android smartphone at any point in the near future?
In truth, we imagine it won’t be happening any time soon. The indicators for this may come less from Nokia itself and more from the manufacturers of Android devices, in particular the way in which their strategies are developing.
Samsung, the firm which last year usurped Nokia as the world’s biggest manufacturer of mobile phones, has broken sales records with its Android phones recently.
Over 30 million Galaxy S III devices were reported to have been sold before the end of last year and the firm has pushed the envelope of what a smartphone can be with its innovative Galaxy Note handsets.
The reasons for this move could be many and varied but Samsung may well be worried by Google’s purchase of Motorola. With the search giant now having its own hardware manufacturer there has been speculation that other makers of Android devices could be frozen out.
Google has certainly taken more control of Android of late, with the latest versions of the software being pushed out to Nexus devices before anything else.
The Nexus series, although all manufactured by third parties, is closely monitored by Google and offers an unskinned, unfettered version of Android in its purest form.
With this is mind, it would seem a strange move for Nokia to begin producing Android handsets at the same time that the platform’s biggest hardware manufacturer is testing the waters elsewhere.
When you consider the ‘special relationship’ that Nokia has with Microsoft it seems even less likely, even though the software giant has recently extended a hand to other manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung itself.
Windows Phone 8 is also showing promise as uptake of the platform increases, helped by a slew of high-spec handsets released in quick succession at the end of last year.
Figures from online research firm NetMarketShare released last week show a huge increase in mobile web traffic coming from Windows Phone devices, and while this isn’t an ideal indicator of sales figures it does suggest that the platform is being adopted more widely.
We’re now just under two years on from the landmark moment when Stephen Elop sent his famous “burning platform” memo to Nokia staff, signalling a change in the direction the company was taking.
With the way in which the Finnish firm has committed itself so heavily to Windows Phone, Elop’s own history as a Microsoft employee and the fervent denials that the Lumia manufacturer has made over these recent suggestions, it seems that Nokia will be sticking to Windows Phone for some time yet.