Nokia Needs Android Like Symbian Needs HTC

For starters, this isn’t entirely my idea. Others have suggested that Nokia give Android a fighting chance, most recently Kevin at GigaOm, who makes some extremely valid points. After 6 years of being a Symbian addict, I recently gave up on the platform to pick up Google’s Nexus One, and I’m loving it. While most of my reasons were due to the crappy hardware in the Nokia N97, there are several things about Symbian that I just can’t tolerate anymore. The more I’ve thought about it and experienced Android and HTC’s devices, the more I’m convinced that Nokia needs to dump Symbian and pick up Android and Symbian needs to dump Nokia and pick up HTC.

When I started shopping for an Android-powered smartphone, it was actually a pretty difficult experience. For starters, I knew I wanted one powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor – after the deathly-slow experience of the N97’s craptastic processor, I wanted the fastest thing I could buy. Unfortunately, I also wanted a hardware QWERTY keyboard and a dedicated camera button, and I needed it to have support for AT&T’s 3G network. My selection was pretty much limited to the Nexus One or the Motorola Milestone (which isn’t officially sold in the U.S.). The Nexus has the speed I wanted, but the Milestone has the keyboard and camera button. I couldn’t help but wish I could buy the Nokia N97 with a decent processor running Android and be done with it.

Nokia -Symbian + Android = WIN

This is where Nokia needs to pick up Android – the U.S. Carriers (with the possible exclusion of AT&T) are in love with Android, and with few notable exceptions, don’t really give Nokia the time of day. If Nokia could produce some heavy Android-powered hardware, it’s possible it could make waves in the U.S. market again – a big boon, though clearly not the end-all-be-all that some would like to make the U.S. market seem.

Similarly, Nokia is more familiar with different form factors – witness the dual-sliders with multimedia keys, side-sliders like the E75, or even better, the legendary E90 (imagine that bad boy with Android!). The N97 would also have been stellar with Android – solid keyboards, killer cameras, awesome battery life – all things that Android is currently seriously lacking.

Symbian -Nokia + HTC = WIN

However, that would leave Symbian out in the cold, and I’ll be honest – I still love Symbian in my heart. Unfortunately, they’ve been married to Nokia for so long that I’m afraid neither is really getting creative anymore. While Symbian is apparently overhauling their interface, who better to help them than HTC? I mean, HTC’s custom user interface is a major reason why Windows Mobile is still around, and they’re definitely not hurting the Android platform with their SenseUI, either. I for one would love to see what HTC could do with the Symbian platform, and I’m sure I’m not alone. HTC is also known to have awesome relationships with the U.S. carriers – usually launching the same handset on all four major carriers – which would really benefit Symbian, as well.

Not only that, but HTC is also known for pushing the limits with internal phone hardware – they’ve got a handful of devices on the market with the powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor and gobs of RAM. They use large, high-resolution displays, as well – just the sort of hardware that Symbian would really shine on. Put simply – they’d make a great team.

A WIN/WIN situation

It’s always good to shake things up a bit, especially when both parties in a relationship are regularly accused of being stale. Which would you rather see, a Nokia-built Android phone or a Symbian-powered HTC device? I think I’d like to have one of each to compare, personally.

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

16 thoughts on “Nokia Needs Android Like Symbian Needs HTC

  1. >N97’s craptastic processor
    The problem isn’t the processor, it isn’t any of the hardware.
    It’s software. S60 is a behemoth, the years of frenzied feature addition against tight schedules are all to obvious now. Nokia could take the easy path and throw high end silicon at the problem, but that’s a vicious circle – you only need to look at how it played out on the PC.
    High end silicon isn’t ever going to fit Nokia’s product requirements of being cheap to produce and having low current draw in use. They need a software platform that can deliver the features, without the silicon. Android isn’t that platform. We’ll probably have to wait for ^4 to see if Symbian can still claim to be.

  2. Yes it is a win win situation but Nokia is hell bent on not using anything other than Symbian and Meego and I HTC is very comfortable with Android and there were rumors of HTC building there own OS based on Sense UI…. so would they use Symbian??? Very unlikely.

  3. I'd LOVE to see a Nokia built Android phone. I mean, everyone's already doing it, and the platform has unimaginable appeal to the masses…if you only consider those ppl who would love Android but (still) wouldn't want to leave Nokia (if there's any such left)…? They can't do jack shit because their favorite manufacturer is adamant on using a platform that has been dying for at least a year or two now – and one that virtually hasn't even been born yet.Been a Nokia user and fan since the 3210, but for the past few months, I've only been eyeing the Nexus One and the Desire – too bad I can't afford either of them after Nokia basically fooled me (spent a fortune on the N97 which is just useless and worthless too by now).

  4. Ricky, also remember to keep your Nexus1 uptodate with patches and such like. the Froyo update made a significant difference to the device, MUCH faster, better javascript support etc.. – also you may want to try the Swype keyboard for Android (, i too prefer a physical keyboard (hence keeping my blackberry 9700 going) but love swype. (or use the HTC SenseUI keyboard on the Nexus) – cheers (great designed site by the way!)

  5. I think you have it slightly wrong Ricky.Android needs Nokia to get some decent non-battery sucking hardware that doesn't fall apart and works in sunlight.HTC need Symbian/Meego so they aren't tied to Google's advertising platform.

  6. I have kept my Nexus One updated. In fact, I've already loaded MoDaCo's custom Froyo ROM, which let me remove some extraneous apps that I don't use, and let me include some extra features, including the ability to wake the screen with the trackball and install the HTC Sense UI keyboard (the only part of Sense UI that I really like)

  7. You guys claiming the N97 just needs different software are surely joking, right? If the N97 doesn't have enough memory (RAM & flash) for Symbian, it surely doesn't have enough for Android. The onboard 32GB of flash is also abysmally slow. The camera, even with the magical “Zeiss” label, is widely panned, especially when compared to earlier Nseries. The speakers are universally described as “tinny,” and did anybody get the GPS and compass to work reliably? Whether Symbian, MeeGo, or Android is the best choice is academic when a device's hardware is so compromised.

  8. I honestly pray everyday that Nokia will jump on the Android bandwagon because I would buy one in a heart beat. I love Nokia, the brand, its products and recent services (like Ovi Maps) and I love the fact that they have a factory in my country (which is supporting the local economy with more than $1B every year) and they also launched their first service center here, too. I don't love Symbian anymore, though. I jumped over to an HTC Desire and I don't regret it one bit.For me Nokia as a hardware maker is the best out there and would love to see Android on those smooth and well built hardware.I would also add to your list of reasons why Nokia should embrace Android their Maps services which will be delivered free for their devices, but the possibility to add some revenue from other manufacturers by selling this, again.Until this will happen, I can only dream and continue praying 🙂

  9. I agree with you Rick, I love Nokia and I love Symbian, but N8 with Android + Ovi Maps (ported) + decent Exchange support will be a killer device.Also you left me thinking, Nokia + Android most probably will be the fall of iOS.

  10. Great piece, Ricky — looks like the Nexus One with Froyo has already had an impact on you. ;)The shame of this all is the bashing such an opinion can generate. My post has nearly 60 comments, with most of them saying I'm clueless. But I stand by my original point – there are plenty of reasons for Nokia to use Android while Nokia hasn't shown me a compelling reason to continue with MeeGo. Ultimately, I hope I'm wrong — I'd like nothing more than for them to be successful, because innovation helps everyone in the space, especially the consumer. Unfortunately, as you've recently indicated in great detail, Nokia's track record for positive change is shaky.

  11. The n900 with maemo (linux) has the potential to easily beat the iphone and android into the ground, the only problem is that there arent enough people deveoping for it. With the new Nokia QT 4.6 it makes things a lot easier to do this so will probably improve the amount of apps on the store.

  12. I used to follow you when you had your Symbian Guru site. Like you, I left Nokia & Symbian (or Maemo as the N900 was my last Nokia device) in September. I opted for the Samsung Galaxy S, or Vibrant as it is T-Mobile branded. I have only one regret….Phontography!

    I take a lot of photos with my phone and if the N8 were to be released with Android I would buy 2 just in case one broke!

    My experience with the Samsung and Android has been fantastic. Plenty of support. Plenty of apps, including apps that are actually US based!. A great looking device with fantastic display. However, the photos leave a lot to be desired from the 5mp camera.

    I may consider going back to Symbian, but probably not until 2011 and quite possible until the Symbian^4 and MeeGo operating systems are released and stabilized.

    P.S. My next device I am purchasing will be the Samsung Galaxy S Tab. Who needs an iMaxiPad? Not me!

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