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back to article Nokia chief Elop: 'Android? Hey, anything's possible!'

Nokia chief exec Stephen Elop has sparked speculation about his company's commitment to its partnership with Microsoft and Windows Phone. Asked flat out by Spanish daily El Pais if Nokia will produce Android devices, Elop replied "today we are engaged and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible" - an eye-catching …

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either

its a sly threat at microsoft; "get your finger out or we will try android". Or Nokia have finally released they cant survive on the scraps that windows 8 provides.

Either way a Nokia android could be very very intresting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: either

Given the supply shortages of the Nokia 920 when released I can't see this "scraps" argument. Nokia sold every phone they built and could have sold more if they hadn't gone down the "exclusivity" contract route.

This is what I don't get, Android fans laughing at people buying anything with Apple or an iProduct name, yet they also seem to think you need to slap Android onto something to sell it too. Can't anyone see the hypocrisy of that?

Elop worked for Microsoft, so it was obvious he would go down the Microsoft route. If Nokia didn't want that then they were entitled to hire someone else.

Here's a radical concept, I know fandroids won't be able to comprehend it, but some people like to be different and not have the same car, clothes, taste in music, hairstyle or phone as everyone else. Nokia have provided a credible alternative to iOS and Android.

If Samsung, HTC or Google's own Nexus phones are so wonderful then why do fandroids even care about what Nokia do? Or are you pissed off because you aren't getting their great reception and decent camera technology.

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Re: either

"Elop worked for Microsoft, so it was obvious he would go down the Microsoft route."

The word is "worked". His duty now is to do his best for Nokia shareholders NOT Microsoft's. That's a CEO's job.

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Stop

Re: either

You are totally missing the point. Fandroids care because Nokia makes fantastic phones. It is just simply that the software sucks (traditionally). Windows Phone is certainly a step up but even if you could get a 920 with Android, it would inherently be a Nokia. The look and design etc. All they need to do is skin it a little to differentiate further and you would have a hit on their hands to rival Samsung. Even replacing Roboto with the Nokia font would do the trick.

The key problem is that outside of the hardware design, you do not know know that the Lumia range are Nokia made. Take the screen out of the chassis and there is little difference between them and a Samsung Ativ or HTC because there is no flexibility in the WP design language. Fandroids may crave vanilla Android but the average user does not give a hoot.

It is clear that Samsung offering multiple OS platforms is not causing it any trouble. Nokia/Elop seem to run away from that concept when they could instead return to the top of the pile by embracing Android.

For what it is worth, I would buy a Nokia 820/920 in a heartbeat if I could get Jelly Bean on it.

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Re: either

My Sony Xperia has very good reception, ta, and I live 'in the sticks'. Camera is reasonable, but I usually keep an LX-5 in the car. No complaints. Nokia's top PureView is very impressive, and is an elegant solution to lowlight vs 'zoom', but is so pricey... for less cash you can get a DSLR-sized sensor in a compact camera's body (RX-100).

We have an interest in Nokia because of nostalgic memories of things like the 6210i and dreams of what might have been- they way that Nokia had most of the ingredients needed to bring out an iPhone-like device before Apple did, for example, or a reasonable hard-keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chemist

And he quite clearly hasn't done that.

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Anonymous Coward

Well which is it?

"Given the supply shortages of the Nokia 920 when released I can't see this "scraps" argument. Nokia sold every phone they built and could have sold more if they hadn't gone down the "exclusivity" contract route."

Supply shortages...sold every phone they built...could have sold more if...

Seems a bit woolly, if there is supply shortages and they have oversold how could they have sold more. Either they have more stock to sell more or they couldn't have sold more.

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Re: either

"Nokia's top PureView is very impressive, and is an elegant solution to lowlight vs 'zoom', but is so pricey... for less cash you can get a DSLR-sized sensor in a compact camera's body (RX-100)."

Other things you can get for less cash than a Nokia 920 include:

A block of cheese

A train ticket from Leeds to Bradford

A large popcorn at the cinema

Unfortunately just like the RX-100, none of these items is a phone so they don't make for a very good comparison.

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Re: @Chemist

"And he quite clearly hasn't done that."

Agreed !

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Windows

@Afflicted_john

"The key problem is that outside of the hardware design, you do not know know that the Lumia range are Nokia made. Take the screen out of the chassis and there is little difference between them and a Samsung Ativ or HTC because there is no flexibility in the WP design language."

That is not entirely true. There are very specific differences between a Nokia and a Samsung phone. First there's obviously specific software which is provided by the manufacturer, but this can also find its way into specific OS changes.

For example; my Samsung (WP7) phone has the option to automatically block anonymous incoming calls, a feature I heavily use. Another feature is the option to turn of the vibration the very moment you press on either the back or search buttons at the bottom. Or one to automatically change the screen brightness depending on surrounding light sources.

All of those are specific Samsung features, which you won't find on a Nokia or HTC.

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Re: either

>Unfortunately just like the RX-100, none of these items is a phone so they don't make for a very good comparison.

You're quite right. However, both are on a sliding scale of compactness vs image quality, the optimum compromise along this scale varies for individual users.

There are some people for whom Nokia's Pureview is a suitable compromise along this scale for them, but other people won't mind more bulk if it allows them to take better quality images.

My point was that though the Pureview camera is good, it won't be a 'must have' feature on everyone's phone, especially if they carry a compact camera (side-by-side tests suggest the Pureview more than equal to the LX-5, impressive, but if casual wildlife photography is your thing neither have enough zoom to cut it).

Anyway, I'm still working through a lovely big truckle Godminster chedder at the mo... it ought to be a controlled substance it's that good!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: either

Because a Lumia 920 with Windows Phone is utter shit, the same phone with Jellybean would be a best-seller...

We really don't want to see Nokia disappear down the drain, but the Windows Phone suicide route they have been heading down for the latest 3 years, it's not VERY likely.

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Windows

Re: either

To that list, you could add a 5-pack of condoms. Infinitely more fun, especially if you have a partner the share them with...

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Re: either

> Nokia have provided a credible alternative to iOS and Android.

They provided it with Maemo/Meego, the N900/N950 and the N9 and also would have with Meltemi. It is for the dumping of these that MS paid them $1billion.

WP7 fell well short of being a viable alternative because it was an old design (single core, 800x480, no real multitasking) imposed by MS. This, and abandoning the WP7 users, just as they had previously with WM6.5, had poisoned the brand.

Perhaps Nokia will now produce a Tizen phone, or Ubuntu, or even FirefoxOS.

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Re: either

> Or are you pissed off because you aren't getting their great reception and decent camera technology.

I am pissed off because I will never be able to get an N950, MS paid them to dump it and any follow on from that.

While the 606 camera is interesting, it and the 920's will never match a real camera. Even a cheap compact these days has real optical image stability (not just a bunch of springs), actual aperture, far better lenses, with zoom, and newer ones run Android and have WiFi.

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Re: either

> Unfortunately just like the RX-100, none of these items is a phone so they don't make for a very good comparison.

If you want to take photographs buy a camera, if you want to talk to friends remotely then buy a phone. Any device that tries to be both will do poorly at one or both. The 920's camera may be good in comparison with most other phones but it is poor when compared to even a cheap compact.

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Re: either

" for less cash than a Nokia 920"... "A large popcorn at the cinema"

What cinema have you been going to, then, that doesn't require a bank loan to buy a popcorn and a drink?

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Re: either

"Godminster chedder at the mo"

Godminster cheddar is magnificent !

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Re: @Afflicted_john

The average person is not going to notice that straight away though, are they. The look and feel of the software in not substantially different, and that is my point. Whereas Sense vs TouchWiz vs Vanilla etc are all a different at the front end and more similar in the back.

Are you saying that if you put an Ativ next to a Lumia in the shop that you will notice straight way that the OS is different? I don't see how that is possible...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: either

Nope. Elop is a mole. His job is to drive down Nokia's share value before MS scoops up the scraps to get control of Nokia's patent portfolio.

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FAIL

What!? El Reg?

"Elop is an experienced media-savvy executive who always choses his words carefully"

I can't see how you can write this sentence, after Elop nearly downed Nokia, first with his gigantic 'Osborne' blunder and then continued with numerous other mistakes in corporate communication.

Then, he goes on to say "Nokia couldn't differentiate against other Android makers" and a few sentences later: "Nokia has enough technology to differentiate themselves" (and that in regards to Windows Phone, which allows no differentiation at all)

confusion reigns supreme

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Hmmmm

"This rationale has been borne out by the market: Samsung 'became very strong and the others are having a hard time'"

Had Nokia gone with Android, they could easily be where Samsung is now - maybe even above and beyond.

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Thumb Down

Re: Hmmmm

There are many, many Android phone makers, but only Samsung make any money from them.

I do not understand why people think that Nokia would be the top Android manufacturer and not somebody else. At the time Nokia were making the crap N97, Samsung were making the vastly superior Omnia HD.

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Re: Hmmmm

>Had Nokia gone with Android, they could easily be where Samsung is now - maybe even above and beyond.

Er maybe, but then Samsung make screens, CPUs and memory. I'm sure that has helped them in some way.

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Re: Hmmmm

pfft I <3 my n97

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Re: Hmmmm

I'm not so sure. Nokia didn't just get an OS for Microsoft. they got quite a bit more:

1. About 1 billion dollars

2. Protection from being sued by Apple. You can bet Apple would have targeted Nokia if they'd gone with Android. MS would have probably targeted them as well. Nokia doesn't have the deep pockets that Samsung does so this could really have been a problem for them.

3. A lot of say over how the OS was going to be developed and the hardware that could be used with it. Given that they've been the only one championing the OS for the past 18 months this gives them a lot of leverage.

4. A new market. Nokia map data is now the WP platform standard, a new revenue stream for Nokia. I think you'll see them doing this with other services, giving them new revenue sources.

They could, of course, still go belly up. I just don't think their move was as dumb as people say. Their choice came with a large number of advantages.

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Re: Hmmmm

"2. Protection from being sued by Apple"

Apple did sue Nokia, the hubris required to sue a company that had been making cell phones since the beginning is nothing sort of amazing, but it's Apple, so they did.

They settled with Apple paying royalties to Nokia.

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Re: Hmmmm

> There are many, many Android phone makers, but only Samsung make any money from them.

Do you have any _evidence_ that all the others are making a loss on Android ?

While Samsung may be gaining market share and making good profits that, it itself, does not mean that all the others are losing money.

> I do not understand why people think that Nokia would be the top Android manufacturer

Does _anyone_ think that ? Android, or some other OS, may stop the decay.

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I am starting to think that his management of nokia is, in fact, a submission for the turner prize.

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Happy

(Turner prize)

Nah - HP have that sewn up!

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Anonymous Coward

And further nominations for

The Ratner Award

The Osborne Award

The Darwin Award

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FAIL

"rejecting Google's Android operating system because it would have been tough differentiating its products from all the other Android handset makers. This rationale has been borne out by the market: Samsung "became very strong and the others are having a hard time"."

That is entirely wrong. Samsung are so successful because they sell good kit: good hardware with an up-to-date OS. They prove that you can differentiate yourself in the Android market. If it was impossible then all the manufacturers would have the same market share.

Nokia were once where Samsung is right now. They got there by selling phones that people wanted to buy. It's the only way to get there. No one, not even Nokia, ever got market share by selling mediocre phones that nobody wanted.

Maybe the lesson they are learning right now is that being the market leader in a small market is worse than being a also-ran in a large market.

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Anonymous Coward

Good kit? their stuff is well know for developing faults. Maybe not so much in mobile but their cameras, TVs and other products are hardly reliable.

They're very plasticy and flimsy too.

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When I'm buying a phone, I don't consider their toasters. The two are made by different divisions. My S III is the best phone I have ever had, and I thought the HTC Legend would take some beating. It is still upgrading its OS regularly and the screen is phenomenal. The only disadvantages are:

* it's a little too wide (but there's an S III Mini just out, so someone is listening)

* There's no track-ball, and trying to move a text cursor on a touch screen is a pain. Maybe I need a touch keyboard with cursor keys.

* I don't see the point of the real button. (Other than to ape Apple).

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>(but there's an S III Mini just out, so someone is listening)

The SIII Mini isn't just smaller, it has a slower CPU and a lower-res screen besides other things. You'd be forgiven for overlooking that, since calling it the SIII Mini is only going to confuse buyers.

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"a touch keyboard with cursor keys"

That is what I have been wishing for myself. Moving a cursor to edit something in the middle of a word is just too damn fiddly and it is often easier to just delete the whole word and re-type it. Cursor keys, even just two for forward and back cursor movement, would be a godsend. I don't need a dedicated "Help" key, and I don't need a dedicated smiley key, like so many soft keyboards have, they could be replaced with a couple of cursor keys very easily.

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Anything is possible

Even Firefox OS, Ubuntu or bringing back the Jolla folks? I do hope so.

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Differentiating

"He also pointed out that Nokia had rejecting Google's Android operating system because it would have been tough differentiating its products from all the other Android handset makers."

Like the restrictions imposed by Microsoft on Windows Phone?

P.S. I wonder if Andrew got red faced at the idea of Nokia releasing an Android phone :-D

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Re: Differentiating

JahBless,

MS might be much more restrictive than Google with Android, but Nokia seems to be the 'top dog' in the Win Pho market, so they don't need to differentiate. Plus they do have Nokia maps and the shiny camera on the 920.

As far as I can see Win Pho's now around 5% of the smartphone market, so improving acceptably, and in a position to accelerate rapidly, or nosedive...

I think you're being a bit unfair on Andrew O though. The tone of his Nokia Win Pho articles gives me the impression that he really likes the OS, with occasional frustration at the limitations. Like a good parent when he sees the faults, he's not angry... He's disappointed. I'm in pretty much the same situation. I like Win Pho 7, my Nokia Lumia 710 was great for £120. But I'm not buying another smartphone without Gorilla glass (or equivalent), and I'm not paying much over £200 - when I can have a new iPad for £400.

Given how cheap Android tablets have now got, I'm not sure I'll be replacing my iPad with another, at double the price. And the Nexus 4 is looking unbeatable at £230. Nokia seem to be selling their Win Pho 8 handsets at full price. I think they had to buy their market share last year, with heavy discounts. I don't wish them ill, but I'm not handing them £400 - so I may only buy if things go wrong, and they have to do the same again.

In my opinion Win Pho is the best phone I've used. Though I've not tried WebOS or Blackberry. But for a mobile computer to do everything I'd say Android shades iOS, Apple often has better apps, except where it refuses to let you do stuff. Win Pho isn't customisable enough to be up there, and the app store is rubbish. At the same price I'd probably still pick Win Pho though - it's a phone first for me.

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Linux

Re: Differentiating

Where are you getting your 5% from?

All I can find is references to 2.7% US and 1.9% global (Q3 2012). I can accept that the new lumia phones may have made a dent, but 5% seems wildly optimistic. Nokia is certainly the top dog, but of a very small yard.

I would buy a Nokia android device, but it would have to be competitive with other handsets on the market. Three or four years ago Nokia released the N900, which was awesome but already behind the field in terms of tech specs. The N9 was at least a year behind competitor's products, so despite apparently being pretty good they could have been so much better. I've no idea if the hardware specs of current-gen nokias are in line with the rest of the industry, but they used to lag terribly.

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FAIL

Re: Differentiating

Windows Phone is at less than 2% and that's down since the previous year..

Is this make stuff up day?

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Re: Differentiating

David Hicks,

I can't remember where I saw the figures now, I had a search for sales figures in about November - I think after I'd seen an article in IT Pro. It's not market share really, it's sales, so takes a long time to feed through to big numbers to make developers happy. I saw figures from a couple of different analysts that had Win Pho at 10% of sales in Italy and doing well in Europe and China. Don't think it did brilliantly in the US with Win Pho 7, but there was a suggestion that 8 was getting better sales with the phone companies. It's all conjecture because of everyone being so secretive about their numbers.

Also, with 8 only coming out in October, it's possible that a lot of these sales were actually heavily discounted Win Pho 7 phones, Lumia 710s and 600s - which means they're in the same boat as with Symbian, selling phones at the cheap end at crappy (or negative) margins.

Ballmer said sales had more than doubled last month, which isn't exactly great, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Did the N900 need more specs? My Lumia 710 would run Android 4 really badly, but there's never any stuttering on Win Pho 7 The last, Tango, update actually cut the memory requirements. Though 8 seems to need full modern specs though.

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FAIL

Re: Differentiating

@Barry Shitpeas -

5% USA,

10.5% UK,

15% Italy

22% Finland

Lower in many places, higher in a few.

But then, every day is make stuff up day for you, right?

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Re: Differentiating

@I ain't Spartacus

The figures I found were sales too, they were Q3 2012 sales and Q4 *may* show something more interesting, but I think doubling the sales share is a touch optimistic. Could well be wrong

The N900 was a great device, but I'm not interested in what the OS *needs* for basic operation, I'm interested in what you can do with the available power. And the more the better as far as I'm concerned. Especially as I like to re-purpose devices and install non standard operating systems. You can say "Oh but the interface is sooo smooth" as many times as you like, but I'll still be miffed at someone trying to sell me last year's hardware at this year's prices.

No, I do not expect everyone to think that way, or that my opinion is representative of anyone but me.

@dogged

What are the sources for your numbers?

The 2.7% US figure I quoted comes from Forbes - http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2012/12/21/windows-phone-now-third-most-popular-platform-in-u-s/

And gartner says 2.4% - http://wmpoweruser.com/gartner-around-4-million-windows-phone-units-sold-in-q3-2012-with-2-4-market-share/

These are of course Q3 numbers, I can't find Q4, but the only numbers I've seen even in the same ballpark as yours are projections. For 2016.

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Re: Differentiating

David,

My Lumia 710 runs everything I chuck at it perfectly. Faster than my last (stutter-y) Android. And I paid £120 for it, so I'm happy it was year old hardware. Although I suspect Nokia made no profit on that, as they were trying to flog them for £300 in Jan 2012. At which price I'd call them a rip-off - Android was far better value, and the route I'd have gone.

dogged's figures look about 1/3rd higher than the ones I saw 2 months ago. Being analyst projectsion/guesses, I'd be taking whole heapfuls of salt with them...

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Re: Differentiating

Again, and sorry to harp on about it, but I'm really not interested in what you can chuck at it, I'm interested in having up to date hardware.

AFAICT that is what they have now, and if so then good for Elop bringing them up to date, but they did lag for quite some time.

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Re: Differentiating

@I ain't Spartacus

"MS might be much more restrictive than Google with Android, but Nokia seems to be the 'top dog' in the Win Pho market, so they don't need to differentiate. Plus they do have Nokia maps and the shiny camera on the 920"

Is it me or you and Elop (ok, lets assume he *did* say it during the interview), sometimes says that with Android Nokia wouldnt be able to differentiate from the other manufacturers, unlike with WinPho, but with the restrictions imposed by Microsoft Nokia being the top dog dont need to worry about it...I don't know but looks like a bit confusing...

And whats curious is that you like alot Windows Phone but not so if you have to pay the price that Nokia asks to have one of their phones.

"But I'm not buying another smartphone without Gorilla glass (or equivalent), and I'm not paying much over £200 - when I can have a new iPad for £400."

See?

About Andrew, I was just joking, but truth said, I think he can't stand Android for some reason. I would love to see WebOS and MeeGo thrieve but it didnt happen, I even miss the hours that a symbian phone would give, but life goes on...

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Re: Differentiating

JahBless,

I think smartphones are currently overpriced. Or at least the top-end ones are, and I'm willing to use year-old tech to get them cheaper. But this is because I barely use most of the 'smart' stuff. I really only use them for communications and contacts/diary, with occasional sat-nav and only rare uses of the internet. I'm not much oif an app user either.

At the moment Nokia don't seem to want to sell a full range of phones, maybe to maximise profits at launch, or maybe because MS hardware requirements are too high? But as the OS gets a bit older, if those requirements stay the same, the entry level phones can get quite cheap. As happened with Win Pho 7. I don't think I'm a customer that any phone maker will find it worth pursuing. Cheapskate...

I'm not trying to quote Elop, I didn't read the interview. I'm just pointing out that Nokia would need to differentiate themselves in a crowded Android market. Otherwise they'd just be another also-ran, while Samsung hoover up all the profits. Whereas the MS market is much less crowded. The other players aren't putting their main resources into it, and I'd suspect that Nokia have some input into what MS produce. Nokia do get the lion's share of the publicity, even though I've read some nice reviews of the HTC phones, and even though Samsung are doing a WinPho version of the Galaxy SIII, which was the big story handset this year.

Also, Win Pho seems to have lower hardware requirements. Only single core last year, and it ran well on that. Now only dual core, when the best kit is quad-core. That gives Nokia a financial advantage. They can get away with cheaper phones at the same margin. That may turn out to be a disadvantage, if modern apps need more grunt. I've not played with the best 'droids and WP8, so don't know what the speed difference is like.

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Devil

Re: Differentiating

Well, Nokia only got some attention on the 920? due the moniker "PureView", but the loyal nokia fans knows well that the PureView works at its best on the 808 only. Samsung its doing well because it invested in publicity and some nice tricks. The Notes (I, II) are marvellous. But if you only use a smartphone for communications, well, don't buy one, and stick with a feature phone. You are wasting money nevertheless.

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