Nokia is denying rumors that it is about to unveil a smartphone running on Google’s Android operating system.
“There is no truth to this rumor whatsoever,” spokesperson Joseph Gallo told LinuxInsider on Monday. “It is a well-known fact that Symbian is our platform of choice for smartphones.”
The Guardian newspaper in England reported Monday that the company plans to unveil an Android-based mobile phone in September.
Up and Coming
If it did, it would join a growing parade of manufacturers rolling out models based on the OS, which analyst Bonny Joy of Strategy Analytics said is likely to become one of the top contenders in a very crowded space in very short order.
“There’s no other platform right now that we see that can emerge as a contender,” he said.
LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson are all expected to roll out Android-powered phones within the next year, noted Joy.
Symbian and Nokia
Entering the Android fray is not a simple proposition for Nokia, Joy pointed out.
Last year, Nokia purchased the Symbian OS and handed it over to a nonprofit foundation it helped establish to further develop and distribute the software. That puts Nokia squarely in Symbian’s camp.
Beyond that, Nokia’s scale of manufacturing makes it difficult to quickly adopt a new standard unless it is certain it will scale to broad production globally, Joy said.
The company ships 400 million handsets a year globally, he observed, and its product development efforts, manufacturing system and distribution network are all tightly integrated around current standards.
For Nokia, jumping on the Android bandwagon would be a huge disruption, according to Joy.
“It’s just too early to commit,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson has yet to respond to rumors that it is planning its own Android phone. A Denmark-based Web site, mobil.nu, published details and photos of what it said was the new phone.
The 3G phone is reportedly code-named “Rachael” and features a 4-inch screen, and an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera, according to the site.
Sony Ericsson did not respond to requests to comment on the reports by deadline for this article.
Strategy Analytics predicts manufacturers will ship 8 million Android-powered handsets in 2009. That’s about 4.4 percent of the global market of 180 million units projected for the year.