Let's Hope Stephen Elop Is Smart Enough To Switch Nokia To Android

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Photo: Associated Press

Nokia is addicted to the idea of producing integrated hardware and software, as it always has, and as Apple and RIM do.But let’s face it: That party is over for Nokia. The company hasn’t been competitive in mobile software for years — not like Apple and Google are today. And even if new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop can reinvent the company’s mobile software efforts, that may be too little, too late. Just ask Palm.

So let’s hope that Elop realises that the smartphone platform race — at least technology-wise — has already been won by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. It’s a waltz of elephants, and Nokia is nowhere near the top. (In market share, sure. But not in innovation.)

So if Nokia is going to be able to compete at the high end of the smartphone business, it needs to be on one of those platforms. And since Apple isn’t going to give its software to Nokia in a million years, that means it’s Android time. (Or maybe Elop has a secret deal with Microsoft to switch Nokia over to Windows Phone 7? But hard to see how that’s a winner yet.)

Think about it: If Nokia adopted Android, it would instantly become the biggest Android player in the world. It would dominate Android and could have a big statement in how Android is developed. Sure, it would need to compete with other Android companies. But it could be the biggest, and with some tweaks, maybe even the best.

And just as importantly, Nokia — combined with other Android partners like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung — could absolutely dominate Apple. Then developers and partners may even pick Android first, ahead of iPhone.

Would the old Nokia regime ever admit this, or ever adopt Android? No way in hell. Will Stephen Elop — who has watched Microsoft’s Windows slip in relevance as tablets and smartphones come out — be able to make the tough decision to give up some control but latch on to a winner? We’ll see.

But the future does not look bright for Nokia’s homegrown platforms. So if it’s not Android for Nokia, it could be even greater irrelevance.

Earlier: Will Steve Ballmer Buy RIM Now Just To Destroy Nokia?

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