Time and time again you hear smartphone fans saying they’d buy a Lumia device if it was running Android. And in an alternate reality, you may have been able to buy that coveted handset. The New York Times details how Nokia was testing Android on its devices behind the scenes before Microsoft ultimately acquired the company.
The publication says that the devices could have been ready to go by the end of 2014. Microsoft executives were reportedly aware of the project, but it looks like it didn’t impede the acquisition talks in any way. The Verge backs up The New York Times report by saying that Nokia was also exploring the idea of running a variant on Android on its ultra low-cost Asha handsets. The company could even have forked Android, not unlike Amazon and its own range of Kindle Fire tablets.
Microsoft reportedly had a “Plan B” too. The Verge continues by saying that the Windows Phone creator was testing a Surface phone around the same time that Nokia was toying with the idea of using Android. The site says that several prototypes were tested internally, with the project being labelled a backup in case Nokia failed to gain significant traction with Windows Phone.
Both projects may have been scrapped thanks to the acquisition, but Microsoft can at least tightly integrate Nokia’s hardware business into its own software efforts. And the company certainly needs to – Windows Phone is still pushing single digits in market share despite Nokia’s excellent hardware.