Turns out, Nokia was secretly testing Android on its Lumia and Asha phones in case its Windows Phone efforts didn’t succeed.
According to a report in NYT’s Bits blog, a team within Nokia had working Android-powered Lumia phones long-before Microsoft deal came into picture.
A team within Nokia had Android up and running on the company’s Lumia handsets well before Microsoft and Nokia began negotiating Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone and services business, according to two people briefed on the effort who declined to be identified because the project was confidential.
Considering the condition of Nokia’s smartphone efforts right now, it is not surprising that Nokia was working on a plan B for its future.
In a separate report, The Verge notes that Nokia’s Android experimentation was not just limited to Lumia smartphones, under Project MView, a Nokia team was trying to put an Android fork on its low-end Asha phones. As per Verge’s sources, Nokia was planning to launch Android-running Asha devices in 2014.
The Verge notes:
Nokia uses a variety of codenames for projects, but this particular one — also codenamed “MView” for Google’s hometown of Mountain View — was designed to use a variant of Android on a low-end handset to maximize margins. We’re told the end result was planned to launch in 2014, but with the recent acquisition employees working on the projects do not know their fate. One of Nokia’s ideas was to fork its own version of Android in a similar way to Amazon for low-end devices.
Now that Microsoft has acquired Nokia’s smartphone business (pending regulatory approvals), whatever little hope was there for a Nokia Android phone, it is gone and we will probably never see Android running on Nokia phones.