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Nokia Corp. plans to release twelve smartphone models based on Windows Phone 7 operating system next year and four of them are already in development, an analyst revealed on Thursday. The company already has a prototype of a Windows Phone 7 device and that one could be released as early as this autumn, but there are roadblocks for that.

At present Nokia evaluates Windows Phone 7 operating system (OS) using the so-called W7 device that resembles Nokia X7, but is based on Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 (up to 1GHz Scorpion ARM core, Adreno 200 graphics processing unit, 720p video, 12MP camera, integrated 3G, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, HSPA support and so on), featuring screen with 800*480 resolution as well as 8MP camera with auto-focus and flash, according to Eldar Murtazin, principal analyst with Mobile Research Group. The company decided to use the already available platform - X7 smartphone, Qualcomm QSD8250 chipset and other components - since it wanted to very rapidly create working prototypes of WP7-powered smartphones to learn peculiarities and behaviour of the operating system.

"This model will be the first to be launched on the market. In fact, it is ready to a certain state, so that in standard form, it could be launched even this fall. But there is a question whether Microsoft will allow Nokia to customize the [operating system] software or will not. [...] Chief executive Elop wants the first [WP7-based] products to appear by Christmas 2011, but most likely they will still arrive by the end of January or February next year," said Mr. Murtazin in a blog post.

As is known, Microsoft Corp. poses rather strict requirements onto the hardware used inside the smartphones powered by its latest operating system. As a result, the first generation of Windows Phone 7 devices from different manufacturers are very similar. By the end of the year Microsoft will release updates to Windows Phone 7 OS and will allow manufacturers to release new form-factors of devices, something that is tremendously needed for Nokia, which is about to sign a strategic relationship pact with Microsoft.

Besides the "W7", Nokia is reportedly working on three other models at present:

  • Nokia N8-like model with 12MP camera, new-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon with two ARM cores as well as Adreno 320 graphics processor, something presently unavailable on WP7 platform;
  • Smartphone with QWERTY keyboard and touch-screen;
  • Inexpensive phone with touch-screen.

In total, there are twelve Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices planned to be released in 2012. All of them are likely to somewhat resemble Symbian-based products, but should naturally offer clear advantages over the platform that is fading away.

It is necessary to note that Nokia is only beginning to work on the new devices that will use Microsoft WP7 operating system. As a result, the firm will continue to play with specifications and features of its actual products to determine their capabilities, positioning and price. The actual specs of "W7" are completely unknown and therefore it is unlikely that it will be released in its current form this year. Naturally, the firm will have to do a tremendous amount of work going forward to create competitive Windows Phone 7 lineup.

Interestingly, but the company reportedly still considers Google Android operating system. Depending on sales of WP7 phones in 2012, it will make the decision whether to embrace the platform or not.

Nokia did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Nokia, Windows Phone, Symbian, Android

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