Nokia announced earlier this month that it was switching to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. The two companies have not yet reached a final agreement; that will be signed in the next few months. In the meantime, we are wondering when we will see the first Windows Phone device from Nokia, the world's largest phone maker by volume.
If Nokia wants to push out Windows phones en masse, the hardware will need to come down in price, since Windows Phone 7 has minimum specifications all OEMs must adhere to. Microsoft has already persuaded Nokia that this is possible, according to Reuters:
Elop said one of the key topics in the talks on doing a deal with Microsoft was convincing Nokia that it could reach "a very low price point." "We have become convinced that we can do that very quickly," Chief Executive Stephen Elop said in a meeting with Finnish business journalists.
While selling millions of Windows phones will help Microsoft gain market share in the mobile space, and thus convince developers to start pushing out apps, it will slightly deteriorate the brand if hundreds of Nokia devices are made from the bare minimum so as to target third world markets willing to buy cheap smartphones.
It's important to note that nowhere in the Nokia-Microsoft announcement is Windows Phone 7 mentioned: the two simply refer to Windows Phone. It's thus quite possible that Nokia will push out Windows Phone 8 on its higher-end devices.
Regardless of when we'll see the first Windows phone from Nokia, the Finnish company is already working on wooing developers to Microsoft's mobile platform. An e-mail sent to Nokia Launchpad program members obtained by Slashgear shows that they are being promised a free Nokia E7 together with "one free Nokia WP7 device, as soon as it becomes available." Launchpad is Nokia's mobile app development program, usually priced at €300 annually but currently free for the first year. The full e-mail is below:
Dear Launchpad member,
In light of the strategy announcement made by Nokia and Microsoft last week, we are writing to you today to assure you that our commitment to you and your work to develop innovative apps for Nokia devices remains as strong as ever.
We understand that you have a lot of questions, and want to reassure you that we understand and we are here to listen to your feedback and provide you with information. We encourage you to visit Nokia Conversations where you can find a great deal of information regarding the news http://conversations.nokia.com and which can help to answer some initial questions.
We are very energized by recent developments, and believe the opportunities to develop for Nokia devices are as exciting and lucrative today as they have ever been. In addition to the opportunities coming soon with Nokia and WP7, we have several new benefits to share with you today, intended to help accelerate your app business to reach the 225 million app-hungry Nokia smartphone owners worldwide today.
Today, Qt developers can target more than 100 million Nokia devices for their apps and we have announced that we plan to sell an additional 150 million Symbian devices. Nokia will continue to provide free Qt trainings to help you learn how to make the most of this sophisticated cross-development platform. We’re enthusiastically meeting the demand, so please let us know whether you’d like a training set up in your area.
We are also excited to offer you one free admission to the next Nokia World/Nokia Developer Summit later this year. We will take care of the registration costs.
To assist you with your development activities in the near-term, we will ship one free Nokia E7 device to all program members. Additionally, we will send to you one free Nokia WP7 device, as soon as it becomes available.
To accelerate your mobile app development, we will provide free tech support on all Nokia technologies for the next three months (up to 10 tickets). Equally, if you would like to take advantage of a free User Experience evaluation of one of your apps, please let us know and we will work with you to make those arrangements.
We will also be extending our business development support to all Nokia developer and content program members who are currently developing apps for Nokia devices, and we will assist in publishing those apps in Nokia’s Ovi Store. We will continue to offer ideas and guidance for ways to fully promote your published apps so that you can reap the rewards of your hard work.
If you have any questions, or need any help from us in the days ahead, we want you to know that you can count on us to be there for you. We are truly excited about working with you to discover new opportunities that will lead to future successes.