Nokia chief outlines Windows Phone strategy; warns of Android 'uncertainty'

Summary:Nokia's Stephen Elop discussed at an event in China the possible difficulties for Android that the Motorola-Google deal may bring, while defending Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

Nokia chief Stephen Elop, in a speech in China, outlined the release strategy for the upcoming Windows Phone-powered Nokia smartphones.

Elop, who shortly after he was appointed soon after leaving Microsoft, steered the Nokia smartphone ship from Symbian to Microsoft's next-generation mobile operating system, discussed the rumours that Microsoft would eventually acquire Nokia.

It would not come as a shock to many, since Google acquired the handset-making arm of Motorola, but appears to have been ruled out -- for now.

But Elop said that Nokia would make its own way "independently", as the phone giant is set to release its first Windows Phone 7-powered phone before the end of year.

Microsoft's relationship with Nokia is unique, in that the software and operating system giant gave Nokia complete access to Windows Phone 7 source code; something that other Microsoft partners, such as HTC and Samsung, which have not been given the keys.

Nokia is also sharing a great deal with Microsoft for the Windows Phone project to go ahead, including key services and "innovations" to help differentiate Windows Phone running Nokia devices from the other Windows Phone devices on the market.

But as Elop was keen to point out the advantages of Windows Phone over Android, he warned that the Motorola-Google deal, announced last month, could cause difficulties in the forward strategy of the Android ecosystem.

He said that for other manufacturers, such as HTC and Samsung, there will be considerations to take into account as to how the Motorola-Google deal will affect Android allegiances.

Also, Nokia's overall ethos is changing, with a reported higher sense of urgency and "more aggressive decision making" to enable better innovation.

"It creates a great deal of uncertainty for the Android ecosystem. I'm sure it is of great concern for many of the Android participants", he said in the speech.

The problem of the dilution of phones was also highlighted -- with seemingly every phone for every available segment of all markets it pitches toward -- the balance needs to set to enable phones for all kinds of customer, without flooding the market with forgettable phones.

Bets are on that Nokia Maps will be ported to Nokia Windows Phone devices, perhaps with some 'Bing-ification' to go with it. It just wouldn't be right if Microsoft would not insist on throwing Bing in with something; whether it fits or not.

And, as seen with other Windows Phone devices, such as those from HTC, Nokia is also moving towards a "form factor" model with "distinct designs".

Though there was no mention of a tablet, the phone giant is "aware of the need" and opportunity to meet consumer demands. With Microsoft's cosy relationship with Nokia, I would not put it past either of them to consider a Windows 8 'slate' device -- if a tablet were to come to fruition next year.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Microsoft, Nokia

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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