The following article is reprinted from the Today@PC World blog at PCWorld.com.
Nokia has denied today reports that the Finnish company is working on a mobile phone running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.
A report Monday morning from the Guardian, a British daily newspaper, quoted “industry insiders” saying that Nokia would unveil in September a mobile phone running on the Google Android operating system (OS).
But Nokia has denied Guardian’s speculation, telling Reuters that there is “absolutely no truth to this whatsoever.” The denial continued quoting a company spokesman saying: “Everyone knows that Symbian is our preferred platform for advanced mobile devices.”
Indeed, Symbian is Nokia’s OS of choice for smartphones, or multimedia computers, as the company likes to call its devices. But Nokia’s popularity has been dwindling in recent years, and HSBC analysts quoted by the Guardian reckon that the Finnish company has lost smartphone market share, going down to 31 percent at the end of 2008 (from 47 percent in 2007).
However, Nokia has invested heavily in Symbian in recent years. The biggest move we saw was the company buying out the partners in the Symbian OS joint venture last year. With this, Nokia planned to offer the platform free of charge to other smartphone manufacturers.
And if this sounds similar, then it’s because Google is using the same approach with its Android mobile OS. The search giant is offering Android for free to any manufactures that want to release smartphones using its OS. So far, this model proved to be increasingly popular, with plenty of Android cell phones coming out this year (T-Mobile myTouch 3G, Samsung Galaxy, HTC Hero—to name a few).
But while Google’s Android OS was built from the ground up with touchscreen use in mind, Nokia’s latest devices featuring the Symbian OS (the flagship N97 and the 5800 model) have been criticized for the lack of finger-friendly navigation. Symbian, originally designed for devices with alphanumeric keyboards, and then revamped for touchscreen phones, still requires the use of a stylus in many cases.
Perhaps Guardian’s “industry insiders” are not entirely wrong though. Late last month, Nokia partnered with Intel to create a new stable of mobile products. While Nokia has the Linux-based Maemo OS, which powers the company’s Internet tablets, Google Android could be the company’s OS of choice for this new breed of devices.