Nokia denies Android smartphone plans

Nokia refuted reports that later this year it is planning to unveil a phone running Google's Android operating system. The company's action appears to reaffirm the relationship between the world's largest cell phone maker and the newly opened Symbian platform.

According to an article published today in The Guardian, Nokia is set to release a touchscreen Android phone at its Nokia World event in September. Such a move would represent a major about-face for a company that has for years relied almost exclusively on the Symbian platform for smartphones (though Nokia has dabbled in Linux with its Internet tablets). The Guardian said Nokia was unavailable for comment.

However, ZDNet UK managed to get Nokia on the horn later this morning, and the company blasted The Guardian's reporting. "There is no truth to this story whatsoever," Nokia said in a statement, according to ZDNet UK. "It is a well known fact that Symbian is our platform of choice for smartphones."

Indeed, Nokia purchased Symbian last year and made its software open source and royalty free. The cost of the deal was not disclosed, but estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Interestingly, this is not the first time Nokia has been linked to Android. Last month Lazard Capital Markets analyst Daniel Amir said Nokia may offer an ARM-based netbook running on Google's Android platform in 2010. However, Nokia has so far officially remained steadfast in its support of all things Symbian, despite its sagging share of the smartphone market. (Nokia commanded just under 50 percent of the smartphone market at the end of 2007, a figure fell to a little over 43 percent by the end of 2008 and to around 41 percent by the end of March this year, according to Juniper Research.)

Meantime, Android continues to gain steam; the rest of the world's top handset makers--including Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and HTC--have either release Android phones or have promised to do so.

For more:
- see this Guardian article
- see this ZDNet UK article

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