A new report today from The New York Times citing “two people briefed on the effort” claims that Nokia had Android running on the company’s flagship Lumia devices and considered switching to Android sometime after 2014. That, of course, was all before Microsoft began talks to acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion:
On one level, Nokia’s Android effort is not shocking. Companies often have “plan Bs” in the works in case they need to change course on strategy or want to help negotiate better terms with partners. Getting Android to run on Nokia’s hardware was not a Herculean engineering effort, according to the people familiar with the project.
Still, a functioning Nokia Android phone could have served as a powerful prop in Nokia’s dealings with Microsoft, a tangible reminder that Nokia could move away from Microsoft’s Windows Phone software and use the Android operating system, which powers more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally.
According to another source speaking with The New York Times, the Android project taking place at Nokia didn’t factor into negotiations regarding the acquisition. There’s no word on whether or not there is still a team at Nokia working with Android, but we’d imagine it won’t last for long after Microsoft completes its purchase.