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Windows Phone chief: Nokia to talk road map next week

Andy Lees says that Nokia's plans for Windows Phone 7 will be revealed next week.

Windows Phone 7 will soon be running on Nokia devices, Andy Lees says.
Windows Phone 7 will soon be running on Nokia devices, Andy Lees says.
Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia is finally ready to unveil devices and the plans for its future with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's Windows Phone division president Andy Lees said in an interview at the AsiaD conference today.

"You have to wait just one more week because next week at Nokia World they're going to be announcing plans to roll out Windows Phones amongst other things," Lees told All Things Digital's Ina Fried at the event. "So, we're very excited for them to be in the market. Certainly they have a lot of resources in many parts of the world and that will be a huge accelerant to us."

Lees' comments on Nokia's plans confirm a report from Reuters earlier this month, claiming Nokia would show off its new line of devices as early as Nokia World in London next week.

Microsoft and Nokia announced an agreement earlier this year that paves the way for Windows Phone to become the "principal" operating system on Nokia's line of devices. Initially, there was some speculation that Nokia's Windows Phone devices would launch early next year. But based on earlier reports and Lees' comments today, Nokia has apparently pushed up its timeline.

Aside from talking about Nokia's future, Lees also dug into past and said that Nokia had considered going with Android or following a hybrid strategy to offer both Windows Phone and Android handsets. However, he said, Nokia was most impressed by Microsoft's plans.

"They did an evaluation when they were looking at their future strategy as to whether they should go Android or whether they should go Windows Phone or a mixture," Lees said of Nokia. "They saw our road map for this year and for next year--and I'm assuming that they saw the road map for Android--and they talked about how the products would come together and they decided to bet the whole company on Windows Phone based on that."

But even before Nokia brings Windows Phone to its devices, the situation appear to at least be looking up a bit for the company. Earlier today, Nokia reported that that it generated $12.2 billion during the third quarter, up from the $12.16 billion Wall Street expected from the company. Nokia was able to post earnings of 4 cents per share, beating the Street's expectation of a loss of 2 cents per share. The company also reported that it sold 106.6 million devices last quarter.

But Lees didn't focus his time only on Nokia. In fact, he took the opportunity during his interview to take a shot at Google's Android platform, saying that the integration of a "People" app in Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), which allows users to see social network updates on several services, is "flattering" because it seems to mimic the functionality of Windows Phone 7's People Hub.

Lees also asserted that Google's pending acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is pushing many handset makers to consider jumping to Windows Phone 7.

"We're not forcing anybody to drop anything," Lees said. "Certainly we've seen a lot more motivation from hardware manufacturers since Google made that announcement. I think they're very nervous about what's going to happen and I'm looking forward to making a few announcements of a few OEMs coming on board. I think some of that was motivated by what they see in terms of the pace and innovation that we put in the software; some of that they see because of the investment that Nokia is putting in place; and some of it, frankly, is also because of what Google is doing."

That said, Google has gone out of its way to prove that its decision to acquire Motorola Mobility has nothing to do with wanting to compete against other handset makers. In fact, just yesterday at AsiaD, Google Android chief Andy Rubin stressed that Google isn't getting into the "hardware business" and tried to reassure vendors that "Motorola isn't going to get any special treatment."

Google's Android partners seem to believe that. Following Google's announcement in August that it was acquiring Motorola Mobility, several vendors, including HTC and Samsung, came out in support of the deal. HTC CEO Peter Chou was especially outspoken, saying that "we welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem."

One other tidbit from Lees' interview: he pointed out that during its first year of availability, Windows Phone 7 handset sales are higher than Android device sales during their first 12 months on store shelves.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on Lees' interview.

Updated at 6:09 a.m. PT to include Nokia's third-quarter financial performance.