Nokia Promises Windows Phone This Year

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Nokia has erased any doubt that it’ll launch its first Windows Phone in 2011.

This is My Next confirmed the news with Nokia spokesman Ray Haddow, which is good, because you might not get the message from CEO Stephen Elop’s corporatespeak: “Step by step, beginning this year, we plan to have a sequence of concentrated product launches in specific countries, systematically increasing the number of countries and launch partners.”

(MORE: Nokia and Microsoft Partner to Build Windows Phone 7 Devices)

If you missed it, Nokia made a big commitment to Microsoft earlier this year, vowing to build lots of hardware for the Windows Phone operating system while relegating its own MeeGo OS to more of a side project. Granted, neither Nokia nor Microsoft are mobile superstars in a world of iPhone and Android, but Nokia’s got the hardware chops, and Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone update, codenamed “Mango,” is looking pretty good. There’s a chance this crazy partnership could work out.

That of course depends on whether Nokia’s Windows Phone hardware lives up to expectations. The company’s first handset, codenamed Sea Ray, is essentially a Windows Phone-ified version of the N9 MeeGo handset that Nokia introduced a month ago. Sea Ray specs are unclear, but the N9 has a 3.9-inch AMOLED display with 854-by-480 resolution, a 1 GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens, a polycarbonite body and either 16 GB or 64 GB of storage.

Although Nokia is committed to launching a Windows Phone this year, there’s no guarantee that U.S. users will get it in time for the holidays. According to an earlier report by All About Phones, Sea Ray will first launch in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Yankees who want a bit of Mango this year may want to keep an eye on Windows Phone mainstays like Samsung, LG, Dell and HTC, although we’ve yet to see any official hardware announcements from those companies, either.

LIST: Top 10 Features in Windows Phone’s ‘Mango’ Update