Nokia makes a calculated gamble with Android

The worst-kept secret of the mobile world – Nokia’s adaptation of the Android operating system for mobile phones – finally came out last month: the Finnish handset maker said that its X series of smartphones would run on Android. Before that, Nokia had put its money first on its ownSymbian operating system and lately on the Windows operating system of Microsoft. What made analysts take notice of the selection of Android was that it came seven months after Microsoft announced that it would acquire Nokia for $7.4 billion.

Greyhound Research Chief Sanchit Vir Gogia calls Microsoft’s move to nudge Nokia towards Android the “smartest strategy in town”. In the sub-Rs 10,000 category, it is Android that rules. Since Windows licensing is not cheap, it is not available in this range; as a result, Windows phones are positioned in the premium range against Apple, he says. “Since Android is an open source platform, Microsoft’s go-to-market cost becomes zero and the company is also able to sell Microsoft’s services such as One Drive or Skype on it,” he says. With its expertise in manufacturing and tremendous distribution network, Gogia feels Nokia can easily transition the existing Symbian users to the low-end Android platform. “In emerging markets and especially in India, Nokia still has high brand recall which is a huge plus. So, the premium tag for Windows will ensure that it doesn’t hurt the brand, while the volumes will come through the Android phones,” he adds.

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