"But what else could they have brought to the table that Samsung doesn’t already?"
The Nokia brand *was* valuable before Elop, that alone would have bought them an enormous headstart against the entire market. Samsungs early devices weren't that good, they had to fight their way to the top, Nokia could have beaten them if they'd moved early.
Nokia may still have a usable reputation for quality hardware with most punters. With multiple OS teams already working on Linux devices its entirely believable they could have produced noticeably better devices running Android, before Samsung took the market. If 1-2 years ago Nokia Android offered 1.5 days battery life compared to the normal 1 day, they'd have minted money and bought brand loyalty.
Today it's too late, the entire biz is commodised to the point there's too little high end market to share and brand loyalties are entrenched. So entrenched Microsoft has resorted to perverting and risking desktop loyalty in Windows 8 to backdoor its way into mobile.