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Nokia's Stephen Elop says first priority is "beating Android"

When Nokia announce they're dropping Symbian and pushing Meego aside, I can't say I wasn't happy. Throughout the early years of mobile phones, Nokia did great things and was always at the forefront of innovation. It's been a sad sight to see them decline and struggle to make devices people actually wanted to buy for reasons other than brand loyalty, but it all changed with their new CEO. At the Mobile World Convention, he said "as we achieve our first priority of beating Android, we'll be competing within the Windows Phone ecosystem, and that's fair." Read past the break for a summary of what's going on with Nokia and why Android might need to step up its game.

Last week, Elop along with Microsoft's Ballmer announced their cooperation and Nokia's newfound interest in Windows Phone 7. Elop talked in depth about their choice against Android, saying it would rather go with the new-comer and create a three-way race, rather than compete with Apple's iOS in an already crowded handset market revolving around Android. I think their choice is laudable and the prospects are good, but only time will tell. 

Both Nokia and Microsoft have were years behind in the mobile game until recently. Up until Windows Phone 7, the Windows mobile platform was at the same stage in time as was Symbian. Both in essence had potential, but they didn't go all out to compete with iOS like Android did. I think Ballmer and Kallasvuo, the CEO of Nokia before Elop, thought that the iPhone was a marketing gimmick until it sold in the millions. Android launched with a similarly unrefined product in 2008, but so much has changed that by now it overtook iOS by sale of phones and it's neck in neck in the number of applications available. 

I think both Nokia and Microsoft have enough money to throw on this, and one thing Nokia is still good at is building hardware that, for the most part, bests what's out there now. Although the Windows Phone 7 launch was plagued by problems like the micro-SD incompatibility of early devices and a pretty small app offering, things are moving along. With Nokia, I think, Microsoft found a large partner and, given proper cooperation in development, they can capture a big part of the market if they play their cards well. 

For now I don't think that Android and iOS have much to fear until the dynamic duo at Nokia-Microsoft step up their game with some devices people can buy, but it'd be worth it for them to start moving at a quicker pace to differentiate themselves even more. iOS will always be a viable platform with a good user base, but Android could see a slowdown in their sales if they don't solve some core problems, like convincing developers to produce more high-quality paid apps and attract users to buy apps rather than just use freebies. Since they only money they're making on Android is based around the market, Google needs to fine-tune and revamp as much as they can before Nokia floods the market with Windows Phone 7 devices - and I think they will, given they're hiring people from PayPal and elsewhere to help do this as we speak. 

Photo: Engadget

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