While Nokia has made a name for itself with its wide range of Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone, a report from The New York Times has revealed that Nokia was interested in Android. "Well before" discussions between Microsoft and Nokia lead to the former company buying the latter, Nokia was reportedly testing Android on their Lumia smartphones, having managed to get it running on prototype devices.
Microsoft apparently knew about Nokia's testing of Android, although it didn't form any part of discussions between the companies during the acquisition stage. Nokia had arranged a deal with Microsoft in 2011 to solely produce Windows Phones, although the deal expired in 2014, meaning Android Lumia phones might have made it to the market in under a year's time.
If Nokia had produced a Lumia-like device running Android, with features we've come to love such as 41-megapixel PureView cameras, it might have been the death of Windows Phone. Nokia makes almost all the Windows Phone devices currently available, and commands an impressive 87% share of the Windows Phone market; without them, Microsoft's small share of smartphone sales would begin to dwindle.
Nokia has had to face a large amount of criticism for choosing Windows Phone over Android. The Finnish company had a 30% of the smartphone market in 2010, before that dropped away to the 3% it is now. Smartphone buyers have also often wished that Lumia phones would run Android rather than Windows Phone, citing the weak ecosystem as a reason against purchasing their devices.
Whether or not a switch to Android would have considerably boosted Lumia sales will forever remain unknown, with the company set to produce Windows Phones from here on out.