AT&T Nokia Lumia 925-Home Screen

A report from the New York Times suggests there was a small possibility we could’ve seen a Lumia 1020 running Android, or something like it. According to sources, a small team within Nokia apparently had Android up and running on a handful of Lumia handsets well before Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset business a few weeks back. Nokia’s dabbling could be a huge indication as to why Microsoft even considered the deal in the first place.

Throughout the year, it’s become crystal clear that Nokia’s Lumia lineup, which accounts for more than 80 percent of every Windows Phone sold, is Microsoft’s best chance of getting WP into consumers hands. But what if Nokia, looking toward greener pastures (re: Android), wanted to part ways with Microsoft’s mobile platform, or at least build additional devices running Google’s world-dominating OS? That might not have necessarily been a death knell for Windows Phone, but it surely would’ve been a huge blow.

Nokia wouldn’t have made the switch until after 2014 because of its agreement with Microsoft, but with the Finnish company’s mobile business now in new hands, we may never know what the potential of an Android-equipped Lumia could’ve been. I know many people certainly would’ve liked to see it happen.

There are certainly no shortage of Android devices on the market—choice is a big reason why the OS is so popular. But with its reputation and excellent camera software, Lumia devices running Android would have no doubt been a popular choice. Unfortunately, we’ll just never know. Would Nokia have been better off if it didn’t strike a deal with Microsoft in the first place? That, too, will be a tech mystery we may never have the answer to.