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First Nokia Windows Phone 7 concept design photos leaked

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The first Nokia Windows Phone 7 concept has arrived. Mere hours after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer took the stage in London Friday to announce a partnership between the two technology giants, Engadget received leaked photos of the first concept phone design born of the new marriage.

Yes, they’re very pretty. Very pretty. We know. But don’t get your giddy little hopes up too high just yet — these are only “concepts.” Which, of course, means we don’t have a single hardware specification, release date, or any other concrete detail to deliver.

What this does show us, however, is the direction Nokia-Microsoft plan to head — straight down a path filled with slim, sexy and colorful smartphones. At least, that’s presumably what the folks who leaked these images to Engadget want us to think, since chances are good that these pictures didn’t just happen to come out on the same day that the two companies made major partnership announcement, if you catch our drift.

About that partnership: In the face of strengthening competition from devices running Android or Apple’s iOS, Nokia will adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system. That means Nokia will begin to phase-out phones using its Symbian OS, including low-level phones, eventually. (Read the full details of the plan here.)

Microsoft will continue to offer Windows Phone 7 as a licensed platform, but the two companies plan to work closely together to develop a hearty competitor for the burgeoning market of Android- and iOS-based devices.

So far, it’s difficult to gauge whether or not this relationship will bear money-making fruit. We believe that, by making the Nokia-Microsoft partnership a flexible one, the companies have set themselves up for success as best they can. That’s not to say they can easily compete in the increasingly cut-throat smartphone race. But it does mean they have a fighting chances. Especially if their phones are as pleasant to use as these concepts are to behold.