Google CEO Eric Schmidt said his company tried to get a deal done with Nokia to be the platform for its next generation of smartphones, but was ultimately rebuffed in favor of Microsoft.

Schmidt made the remarks during his keynote address at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.

Nokia and Microsoft entered a strategic alliance last week, in which Nokia will use Windows Phone 7 as its smartphone operating system on its future models. Schmidt said that Google tried to get the Finland-based company to use the Android operating system. We would have loved to have Android appear on Nokia's phones. That offer remains open, he said. Previously Nokia was developing its own software, Symbian and MeeGo.

Android remains the fastest-growing smartphone operating system and is used on many handsets. The three major players are Android, the Apple iOS, and the BlackBerry OS, which in a statistical dead heat. Windows Phone 7 has a smaller market share than any of the three.

Schmidt also discussed whther fragmentation was an issue for Android, and said it isn't a problem. He noted that the basic set of required functions prevents versions of the operating system from differing too greatly from one another.  

Schmidt also clarified how the naming of each successive version works. Following the alphabetical dessert-themed naming convention, the most recent version of the operating system, the tablet-only Honeycomb(3.0)  was preceded by Gingerbread (2.3).

Though Schmidt was not specific about when the next version of Android, the rumored Ice Cream, would be released, he did note that Android 4.0 would combine the previous two versions into a more complete whole.Because new releases occur on a six-month cycle, the next version of Android is likely to appear in mid-2011.