Nokia and Microsoft Partner to Build Windows Phone 7 Devices

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Nokia and Microsoft have announced a partnership wherein Nokia will build handsets running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system.

There aren’t any hard-and-fast dates for when the first Nokia-branded Windows phones will hit the market, but some of the highlights of the partnership are as follows:

- Nokia will use the Windows Phone 7 operating system as its “primary smartphone strategy” from here on out.

- Nokia-branded Windows phones will use Nokia’s imaging technology (cameras), and “Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services.”

- Microsoft’s Bing search engine will power search services on all future Nokia devices.

- Nokia’s app store will be integrated with the Windows Phone 7 app store, Microsoft Marketplace.

On the surface, this appears to be a good partnership. After failing to make a noticeable impact in the smartphone race, Nokia now has access to a thoughtful mobile operating system in Windows Phone 7. And Windows Phone 7, trying to gain market share, gets put on devices made by the company that sells more handsets worldwide than anyone else.

Nokia partnered with Intel last year on an operating system called MeeGo, which was meant to span devices such as netbooks, tablets and smartphones but during a Q&A session after the Nokia-Microsoft announcement, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop remarked that his company will be shifting over to Windows Phone 7 this year instead.

Nokia apparently also considered Google’s Android operating system but Elop said that Nokia “would have difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem” and that partnering with Microsoft would enable Nokia to better compete in the high-end smartphone category, according to Engadget.

More on TIME.com:

Nokia: “We’re Not Even Fighting With the Right Weapons”

Does Nokia’s Symbian^4 OS Matter? Not According to these Videos

Android Tops Smartphones but Tablets Still Seeking Foothold

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