No not really. This week there were rumours of Sony considering selling off their mobile division as their Android Xperia devices weren’t making the sales they needed. They were already in the process of “streamlining” aka trimming down, their mobile portfolio and concentrate on a few but great devices.
Sony had some strong potential; cybershot, handycam, vaio, walkman and playstation. All that could have made a compelling Xperia device.
Interestingly enough, looking for sources on the backstory of this (been too busy with revision, only blogging on breaks) I found this article from Forbes’ Ewan Spence. He considered 5 companies that should buy Sony’s mobile division and he’s thought of some reasons for Nokia.
Following some strong sales of the N1, this could be how Nokia reclaims mobile again. Sony was also the closest thing in imaging to what Nokia was producing. Ewan also mentions Facebook, Amazon, Dell and Yahoo as alternatives. Those sound like more interesting choices rather than say the likes of Samsung or LG.
Even if Nokia wanted to, I’m not sure they have the capital to do so. Alternatively Sony could parter with Nokia. Sony’s done it before as SE (Sony Ericsson). Nokia SONY (Nokison? Sonoki? :p) .
But what would either gain? Sony’s got great hardware too. Those G lenses coupled with Nokia’s imaging patents? Nokia imaging guys are over at Microsoft but the R&D division behind the patents are still with Nokia.
For now, Nokia’s return to the consumer market is because they’re trying to capitalise on the value of their brand – which gets stronger the more its used in memorable devices. They design say the N1, Foxconn makes it, Nokia gets paid regardless of sales – less risks for a weakened legend. This could be unnecessary problems in the long run.
How should the original Sony sale rumour be interpreted? Some might say this adds to the defence that Android is a difficult field to get into. Others might counter and suggest that whilst that might be true, there’s something different about Nokia which would have made them stand out (early days yet for Nokia N1 but that could be one of those ‘defining’ things). It’s perhaps not so much just the OS but the strategy by which manufacturers are taking on the platform.
BTW there’s also been plenty of will they wont they buy in terms of Samsung getting a punnet of Blackberries.