Just a few days after announcing that it was going to start using Windows Phone 7 on its smartphones, Nokia has shown off some concept designs for future smartphones running Microsoft’s operating system.
Nokia normally uses the annual Mobile World Congress tradeshow to unveil its next round of phones, but this year is dramatically different. Last Friday, the company announced a significant shift in strategy, and its partnership with Microsoft is at the heart of its new plans.
Going forward, Nokia is going to produce smartphones running Windows Phone 7, freeing the company from having to develop its own operating systems. As Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said in a press conference at MWC, “We are paying them for the software. But we won’t have to develop the software. And there will be some very apparent operating savings from doing this.”
The goal is to create a partnership that can stand up to the Apple iPhone and Google Android OS. As Elop also said tonight, “Wireless operators very much want a third ecosystem. They want customer choice and they want choices for themselves. And now they have that third choice.”
Bring on the Hardware
With their partnership so new, Nokia is not yet ready to announce its first models running Windows Phone 7. But the company did show off some concept devices at its MWC event.
These show the effects of Microsoft’s relatively restrictive set of hardware requirements for devices running its mobile operating system — its specifies screen sizes and resolutions, processor speeds, and even button placements.
Nokia is going to have to work hard to differentiate its products from Microsoft’s other licensees like Samsung and HTC, but CEO Elop appears confident that his company’s long experience making successful phones will be up to the task.
Elop would not say when his company is gong to release its first smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.