In what might be a concerted effort to design the most unpopular smartphone in U.S. history (aside from the N-Gage), Nokia and Microsoft may be teaming up for a Windows Phone 7 device sometime in 2011. According to Mobile-Review, a Russian tech site, Nokia and Microsoft have been talking during the past month. The two companies are exploring the possibility of a WP7 Nokia device. Stephen Elop, an ex-Microsoft employee, was appointed CEO of Nokia on Sept. 21.
An English translation of the site says that Nokia could be “creating an entire line of Windows Phone devices that may go under the name Nokia, through the sales channels for the company, and will also have the characteristic features of its products.”
Oddly, though Google’s Android operating system is free and infinitely customizable (there are rules if you want Google’s branding), Nokia has repeatedly said it has no plans to work with Android because it doesn’t give enough flexibility to manufacturers to differentiate themselves. Instead, it has continued to push Symbian v3.0 and MeeGo, an upcoming OS it has in development. We do not know anything about the deal Microsoft and Nokia are cooking, but the initial launch slate of WP7 devices had nearly identical hardware and contained no changes in OS design between devices.
Nokia has declined to comment on the rumors, but it seems doubtful that these Windows Phone 7 devices will take shape. Unless Nokia is more desperate than we think, it will likely rely on MeeGo to take its phones to the next level (and judging from the N8, Nokia needs to take it up a notch). Like many hardware companies, Nokia has a history of going it alone and designing both its hardware and software.