The Nokia Press Briefing in Barcelona isn’t being broadcast live, but Steven Elop and Jo Harlow, Senior Vice President Marketing Nokia Mobile Phones, have been on stage, and of course news of the Microsoft / Nokia partnership dominates. Elop said, and then reiterated when a questioner yelled “are you a Trojan Horse?”, that the Nokia Board of Directors made the final decision to go with Windows Phone on Thursday night, just hours before Elop announced it on Friday, wow!
Engadget has been live-blogging the event, and together with tweets coming from @Nokia (we put them in our sidebar with the #MWC tweets), we’re piecing together the news.
The first interesting tidbit from Elop came in a comment about how Microsoft and Nokia would work together. We haven’t heard much about what the Nokia input into the Windows Phone ecosystem would mean for other OEMs, but Elop said (quoted bits via Engadget):
6:40PM "We are contributing a variety of services to Windows Phone that will be available to OEMs including Nokia."
6:41PM "We are also contributing to this partnership the specific technical and hardware differentiating capabilities that will ensure that Nokia Windows Phone products are great products."
Then Jo Harlow came on stage, and dropped a couple of minor bombshells. First, in terms of timing for when we’ll see the first Nokia Windows Phones, she said:
6:46PM "We are the partner who will bring innovation in design and hardware to make great mobile products with Windows Phone — and we’ve already started. We’ve had teams working together in interesting places such as Reykjavik, for example, and they’re meeting to decide the timing of the first Windows Phone product."
6:46PM "My boss has told me he would be much happier if that time was in 2011."
(Engadget’s post on the possibility of seeing Nokia Windows Phones this year)
Then came a question and answer session, and Elop touched on developer tools, reiterating that QT (the Nokia developer tools) will give way to Visual Studio and the Windows Phone tools:
7:01PM Though Microsoft is the primary supplier of dev tools for Windows Phone, Elop says that Nokia will be making a significant investment in providing its own value-add to that developer environment.
7:02PM "It has been the case that within Nokia, our development environments have been somewhat scattered within four areas."
Elop went on to talk about a single infrastructure for selling apps making sense, more about “disruption”, and also mentioned Nokia and Microsoft’s “incredibly strong intellectual property portfolio”. Nokia holds patents on lots of mobile developments, and we’re sure we’ll be hearing more about not only the fight in the marketplace, but some legal wrangling going on as well, as Nokia/Microsoft “fight” with Apple and especially Android. He then touched on the “great deal of pain and a great deal of excitement” that Nokia employees are feeling now, saying that “We’re trying to handle this as best we can”
So a bit of new information, no actual Nokia Windows Phones (but a picture of a concept, at least), and a chance for journalists to learn more about the partnership. We’re impressed by the early transparency Nokia is exhibiting, but they’ll have to keep that up as even if they ship this year they will need to stay relevant in the fast moving world of smartphones.