Need For Speed: Nokia Must Get Windows Phone Handsets Out Pronto

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has revealed the firm intends to release cheap Windows Phone handsets. Speaking to Finnish business journalists about the company’s new partnership with Microsoft , the former Redmond employee said the move would allow the operating system to reach a low price point very quickly.

Microsoft’s first range of Windows Phone 7 devices came with a high spec requirement that didn’t make them the cheapest smartphones available. Elop explained that one of the key factors in doing a deal with Microsoft was convincing his company that it could reach a “very low price point” allaying fears that the firm would miss out as demand for cheaper smartphone models increased.

The Nokia boss revealed during a press conference at Mobile World Congress last week that the first of its Windows Phone handsets would arrive towards the end of 2011, presumably to tie in with the Mango software update. However, this news suggests that the Finnish firm could churn out smartphones before then, which we guess would be running on Windows Phone 7.

This follows a recent announcement made by Nokia Executive and Board Member Niklas Savander in which he said that Microsoft had given the company the green light to customise the Windows Phone platform. It’s a revolutionary move by Microsoft who up until now hasn’t handed the reins over to any other manufacturer when it comes to customising its OS. Nokia must have done some pretty amazing convincing of its own to win them over!

It still begs the question as to why Nokia turned to the Windows Phone platform to start with, particularly when Android is the clear front-runner when it comes to allowing manufacturers to put their own stamp on the existing software. Of course, you could assume that Elop pulled a few strings to meet with Microsoft in the first place, however, there’s always a chance that Nokia saw more potential in Windows Phone for improvements and the implementation of its ideas. We doubt we’ll ever find out the real truth behind the Finnish company’s decision to join forces with Microsoft, but we’re very interested to see how it chops and changes things and how the public takes to it.

One of the reasons Nokia could have jumped into bed with Microsoft, could be to do with updates. We’ve all seen first hand how customisations can affect Android (Sony Ericsson X10, anyone?) but Savander says the changes Nokia makes won’t affect the latest software update being rolled out to their Windows Phone devices. Although he didn’t specify what his firm’s plans were for customising the platform, they could be one of two things:

  • Surface changes that are easy to bring into new updates from Microsoft.
  • Deep customisations that Microsoft will have to integrate into the Windows Phone software itself and then make available to Nokia and other manufacturers.

Nokia is certainly giving us plenty of reasons to keep a close watch, even though it could be a good few months until we actually get to see what it has come up with. The firm may have had a rocky start to 2011 but it looks that from now on, the only way is up.

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