Forbes has an interesting interview with Jo Harlow, Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Smart Devices. Best of all, she shared some new info:
Harlow declined to confirm that Nokia will launch a Windows Phone device in 2011 but hinted that the deadline will be met. “I’m quite pleased with our progress,” said Harlow. “Our target is absolutely still this year…and the target looks good.”
That target won’t be a single phone, either. Harlow says the first batch of Nokia Windows Phones will be a “small portfolio” of multiple devices.
Nokia released design renderings that appeared similar to existing Nokia phones. Harlow, however, says those early renderings are “not characteristic” of the first Windows Phone devices Nokia will release. “One of the differentiations we intend to bring to the Windows Phone platform is hardware innovation,” said Harlow. “You will see that in our first devices and our future devices.”
That differentiation may extend to more capable processors. To date, Nokia has avoided the trend of packing a lot of horsepower into mobile devices. Harlow said that will likely change, in both Nokia’s Windows Phone and its Symbian handsets. While she cautioned that dual-core processors need to be integrated carefully into phones to maximize performance and preserve battery life, she said such upgrades are “directionally the kind of investment in performance Nokia is looking to bring [to its devices].”
The wireless communication technology NFC (Near Field Communication) is another area Nokia is eying for both Symbian and Windows Phones.
Tablets don’t appear to be on Nokia’s short list for its first Windows Phone portfolio. Elop has spoken previously about Nokia’s need to do something unique if it comes out with a tablet, given the crush of competition from other phone and PC makers. Regarding tablets, Harlow concurred, adding, “The focus of our work [in tablets] is in looking to bring true differentiation to that category.”
Not that this is a big deal, but Andy Lees did say at yesterday’s press conference that Nokia will be coming to market with Mango device(s), so the very earliest we’ll see any Nokia-based Windows Phone would be September/October. But that’s a bit optimistic, I’d guess. Still, you’d think Microsoft and Nokia would want Nokia phones to be part of the initial Mango wave.