Nokia tested Lumia Android handsets before Microsoft deal

Before the sale to Microsoft, Nokia engineers had allegedly developed Lumia phones running Google's Android operating system.

The New York Times, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, claimed on Friday that a team within Nokia had Android-powered Lumia handsets "up and running" long before Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile phone and services business for $7.2 billion.

Microsoft apparently knew about the Android handsets, though they didn't become a part of discussions when the companies negotiated. Some could find that hard to believe, as Microsoft's Windows Phone OS had relied on a hardware manufacturing partnership with Nokia since 2011.

Read: Microsoft acquires Nokia's devices and services business for Windows Phone unit

Nokia had originally sided with Windows Phone over Android because - as former CEO Steven Elop once pointed out - there was a "very high risk" that one hardware manufacturer could dominate Android. That one manufacturer was Samsung - which now spearheads Android (to the point where even Google is concerned).

The report doesn't specify whether Nokia wanted to jump the Windows Phone OS ship in favour of Android, nor how many handsets were actually made with the legitimate idea of release, but it's interesting that the handsets even came to fruition internally.