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.