Rumour mill: Will Nokia release a Windows Phone 7 handset?

Having choked on the idea of adopting Android, Nokia is rumoured to be considering the release a smartphone supporting the Windows Phone 7 OS.

While the company has strenuously denied any move to adopt Windows Phone 7--claiming it currently has no plans to use operating systems other than Symbian, Series 40 and MeeGo, the appointment of Stephen Elop from Microsoft could radically reshape Nokia's shambling OS strategy.

While Nokia might have its head firmly planted in sand, the first Windows Phone 7 handsets are expected to be released within months from HTC, LG and Asus. Of greater importance, European operators, including all five of the UK's service providers, have made public their intent to offer Windows Phone 7 handsets.

While Elop is thought to have been given the remit to 'think the unthinkable' on Nokia's future OS decisions, supporting Android and/or Windows Phone 7 would take the company into the problematic world of being a commodity handset supplier.

On the upside, while Nokia's much hyped N8 smartphone has again been delayed, pre-orders for the handset are reported to be the highest amount Nokia has had for any handset to date.

If Nokia is able to achieve success with the N8, in particular within the US market, then adopting the unproven Windows Phone 7 would have questionable benefits. Also, admitting defeat on internally-developed operating systems--albeit that it is working closely with Intel on MeeGo, would be a major admission for Nokia.

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