If you want to be the first to grab a Nokia-branded Windows Phone-powered phone, you may want to head to Russia. The head of one of the nation's largest mobile retailers seems to feel pretty confident that his stores will be stocking the phones by the end of the year.
Denis Liudkovski, who is the chief boss at "Sviaznoj" - Russia's second largest mobile phone retaler - recently met with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to discuss the impending new product line.
"We are the key Nokia partner in Russia. Thanks’ to the cooperation agreements on the 'shop-in-shop' format, all the newest models show up at Sviaznoj earlier then in competing outlets," he said in an RBC Daily interview. "We expect that the first Windows Mobile based Nokia smartphone will show up in our stores before the end of 2011."
Of course, Nokia and Microsoft entered into a partnership earlier this year. In exchange for a huge wad of cash, Nokia agreed to abandon its decades-old Symbian operating system and start using Windows Phone 7 on all of its future phones.
Nokia has a huge, almost monopolistic presence in emerging parts of the world, and it employs some of the most heralded mobile phone designers and manufacturers on the planet. So the company is by no means irrelevant now, even though it has for the first time slipped to below the #1 position on the list of global mobile phone companies.
As expected, neither Nokia nor Microsoft has been willing to comment on when the first Windows Phone 7-powered Nokia handset will be shipped to stores, but it is noteworthy that means they haven't officially ruled out a 2011 launch.