No hard release date has been provided for the result of the Microsoft and Nokia Windows Phone partnership. However, many people (including myself) expect some announcement or delivery before the end of the calendar year. Many of us, I believe, also expected the first Nokia Windows Phone device to be based on “Mango” Windows Phone 7.5. Forbes’ Elizabeth Woyke, however, reports that it will be based on a version beyond that: Windows Phone 8.
It could be that Woyke is actually referring to Windows Phone 7.5 since she later writes The first/current wave of Windows Phone devices is called Windows Phone 7 but the next generation of Windows Phones will be known as Windows Phone 8. However, if Nokia’s Windows Phone will be based on a Windows Phone 8, there are a couple of possible interpretations and outcomes.
1. Nokia Windows Phone devices will be based on a release after “Mango” Windows Phone 7.5 and will not be seen until 2012. This is very bad for both Microsoft and Nokia since they both need to reignite their mobile strategies.
2. Nokia Windows Phone devices will be based on a version of Windows Phone that is on a parallel release schedule with Mango but is different enough be called a completely new version. Google did this when they released Android OS 2.3 (Gingerbread) for smartphones and Android OS 3.0 (Honeycomb) for tablets very close in time. This would be good for Nokia since it would let them differntiate their product from other Windows Phone brands. However, it would upset all the other manufacturers who would be perceived to be making smartphones with an older version of the platform. If Microsoft buys Nokia’s mobile division, as rumored, Microsoft may not care about other hardware vendors at that point.