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Nokia exec: Android handset makers are like kids peeing in their pants for warmth in winter

It works briefly, and then something much worse happens

By John Cox on Tue, 09/21/10 - 5:55pm.

Nokia's outgoing smartphone boss, Anssi Vanjoki, is reported to have said that smartphone makers adopting Google’s Android operating system are like Finnish boys who“pee in their pants” for warmth in the winter, according to a story in The Financial Times. The story itself is behind a paywall.

His point? "Temporary relief is followed by an even worse predicament," according to FT. Apparently neither FT nor Vanjoki elaborated on the metaphor so it's a bit unclear what he meant specifically, though plenty of bloggers and pundits have weighed in.

Jared Newman at PC World, for example, says the "logic" of the comment is that Android "is a sloppy, band-aid measure for phone manufacturers that could ultimately hurt their brands, because users are buying phones for the operating system, not the phone maker."

I agree Vanjoki certainly seems to imply that there are future downsides to adopting Android, but it's not clear, to me anyway, what weight the operating system has in a consumer's decision to buy a particular smartphone.

Vanjoki's jokey comment comes as Nokia warned that it's N8 smartphone will be delayed by a few weeks. In trying to clarify that news, Nokia later said that customers who have already placed orders will get their phones in October, rather than late September, implying it's more of a logistical lag then a last-minute problem.

FT's story argues that marrying Nokia's hardware expertise with Google's software would "do wonders for sales" without anything to back that up. "As for margins, Nokia sinks a tenth of its handset division’s revenue into research and development, three times as much as Apple. UBS reckons Nokia could cut annual R&D spending by about €1bn a year if it stopped working on software, lifting the division’s operating margin by 400 basis points."