updated 07:05 pm EST, Sun February 13, 2011
Nokia CEO talks Windows Phone 7 design at MWC
Nokia Smart Devices lead Jo Harlow at her company's press conference at Mobile World Congress tonight confirmed that its Windows Phone 7 prototype was real. It didn't have details of the phone but showed the large touchscreen, multi-colored model twice. Harlow hinted that the phone could be ready in 2011, hinting that Elop would be "much happier" if a Nokia WP7 device was on the market this year.
CEO Stephen Elop meanwhile flatly denied suspicions that he was a Microsoft mole sent to push Windows Phone 7 at a rival company and artificially inflate its market share. When asked if he was a "Trojan horse," the company head said the answer "obviously is no" and pointed to the organizational structure making that difficult. The "entire management team" was involved, and the board of directors had the final say on whether or not the platform switch went forward, he said.
Elop further acknowledged company protests and said the results were mixed. While development and sales were excited, some engineers working on Symbian and other platforms were clearly "hurting," he said.
On development, he admitted that Qt was "not the plan" for WP7, noting that Microsoft was providing the brunt and that it would fragment the environment. Nokia would still offer something of its own, however.
Nokia likewise wouldn't want to be the exclusive maker of WP7 devices. It would work best if it had to compete with others in an "ecosystem," Elop said.
Much of the discussion reviewed things Nokia had already said in announcing its landmark deal. The company deliberately chose WP7 both to avoid the commoditization of Andriod but also to create a more competitive market, where at least three major, modern smartphone platforms existed rather than risk an Apple and Google duopoly. A MeeGo device would exist this year, but its role was no longer a central one afterwards. Symbian is ultimately being phased out in high end devices.