Last week, I speculated that, by some fairly reasonable logic, a high-end, Nokia-built Android smartphone could still one day exist, that the Nokia Devices & Services unit being swept up by Microsoft didn’t completely kill the dream phone many have begged for since Nokia dove headfirst into the smartphone market.
How is that possible? Why wouldn’t Microsoft quickly put an end to anything Nokia-made that wasn’t Windows-powered?
The thing is, we figured Microsoft would completely kill the Nokia X phones once the acquisition was completed. However, that was not the case and instead, Microsoft pushed out yet another Nokia-branded Android smartphone, dubbed the Nokia X2.
Granted, none of the Nokia-branded X smartphones are the Nokia-made Android devices we all were hoping for. They’re mostly low-end smartphones aimed at emerging markets, running a version of Android that looks more like Windows Phone. And the premise is to gradually pull people in using cheap hardware and the broad Android application environment paired with Microsoft’s broad cloud services, only to eventually flip the switch and try to bring Nokia X users over to Windows Phone.
By that very logic, it would make sense that Microsoft might also try a high-end Android smartphone under the X brand. A smartphone with flagship specs, Nokia’s renowned hardware, and Google’s mobile OS is exactly what thousands of Android enthusiasts have been dying to see happen.
The problem is, it wouldn’t exactly be too alluring running Nokia’s custom strain of Android. That’s where clever third-party developers come into play with custom ROMs and other hackery.
Last week, that was the extent of the hope left for such a device – some watered-down Android experience on Nokia hardware and some third-party developer love. Even with some fairly sound logic, it seemed like a long shot. Then again, so did a Nokia-made Android smartphone to begin with, or even Nokia-made Android phones after Microsoft’s acquisition.
Somehow, it all came together and all of those unlikely devices have happened, even if they aren’t exactly what we imagined them to be.
Oddly enough, the story doesn’t end there – that is, if we’re to believe the latest word from popular mobile leak source @evleaks. The popular Twitter source posted a very vague tweet early this morning: “Big news: Android-powered Lumia incoming, from Nokia by Microsoft.”
Once again, everyone’s interests are piqued. An Android-powered Nokia X phone that you’d have to hack stock Android on is one thing. A Lumia-branded Android smartphone from Nokia and Microsoft is something nobody would have ever expected.
Immediately, it made us question why Microsoft would do such a thing. Why would Microsoft be okay with creating a high-end smartphone running one of its biggest competitors’ software? Would it come with Nokia’s dumbed-down Android experience like the existing X phones? Or would the Lumia-branded Android smartphone come running a fully-fledged version of Android with access to all Google’s services?
The latter is most unlikely, but at this point, assuming the rumor is true, I wouldn’t put past Microsoft. Maybe it’s desperate for mobile market share. Maybe it’s just testing the waters to see if its own software is the problem. Or maybe the new CEO, Satya Nadella, is looking for a new shock factor. He is, after all, under a microscope and a lot of scrutiny. People are looking to Nadella to make things happen and doing the unexpected may be the out of the box thinking Microsoft needs.
Whatever it may be, we’re certain Microsoft is exploring new avenues to inflate is mobile market share, which has ultimately plateaued.
All things considered, I still would love nothing more than to see an Android-powered Nokia handset. It has practically been begging to be made since 2010. However, I have one major beef with this rumor: the Lumia brand.
I completely stand behind whatever reason Microsoft and Nokia decide to make an Android handset, even if it doesn’t come running stock Android with Google services on board. That’s all possible with a little hackery. But let’s be very clear. No Lumia-branded phone should ever come running Android; likewise, no Android phone should ever come bearing the Lumia name. It’s confusing and makes no logical sense. Lumia smartphones are Windows Phone handsets. End of story.
Call the Nokia-made Android smartphone something unique, make it (them?) distinctly different from the bread and butter. Android is a experiment for Microsoft and calling it as anything other than such is a lie meant to blur the lines and pad its metrics.
For example, say Nokia makes an Android-powered Lumia smartphone and millions of them sell. Microsoft could then say, “Compared to last year, we sold X times more Lumias!” Or “Microsoft’s cloud services are currently used on X millions smartphones worldwide.” In actuality, those metrics wouldn’t be nearly as impressive, because it would have been done through selling smartphones running two different operating systems entirely – one in-house and one from its largest mobile competitor.
Frankly, there isn’t anything wrong with that. Money is money and market share is market share. Get it how you can, I suppose. But something about that concept doesn’t sit well with me. The Lumia brand is deserving of more distinction than being diluted by Android handsets. It’s a respectable brand, and as badly as I want an Android smartphone from Nokia, I don’t want to see it surface as a Lumia phone.
Surely Microsoft and Nokia have the collective capacity to muster a new brand name for whatever Android handset it decides to make, right?
What say you, folks? Should a fully-fledged Android handset from Nokia actually (finally) happen? Should it fall under the Lumia brand? Or should it get a name to itself while preserving the Lumia brand? Sound off with your thoughts below!