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Nokia readies major Windows Phone launch at CES

Nokia is throwing a CES press conference, which can mean only one thing: another Windows Phone. Here's what CNET mobile editor Jessica Dolcourt expects to see.

Nokia's CES 2012 press conference invite

I've long suspected that Nokia had something big up its sleeve for CES; mainly the U.S. version of its Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone that CNET first saw in October. Thanks to an invitation to a CES press conference, Nokia has just confirmed it.

OK, OK, you got me. They've officially confirmed nothing, except the fact that there will be something to announce. However, I have some sound reasons to believe that the phone being announced at CES will undoubtedly be a version of the Lumia 800:

  1. At Nokia World this past October, the handset-maker showed off the higher-end Lumia 800 and midrange Lumia 710.
  2. Last week's announcement of the Nokia Lumia 710 for T-Mobile means that the Lumia 800 is the only model left on the table.

I'll go one step further and posit that Nokia has made AT&T the carrier partner for the stateside version of the Lumia 800. The phone is expected to run on LTE, and AT&T is slowly rolling out its 4G LTE markets. In the meantime, T-Mobile's "4G" runs on its HSPA+ network.

Nokia Lumia 800
Josh Miller/CNET

If it hardly changes from the European version I held in my hands a couple of months back, the U.S. version of the Lumia will have a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen, a 1.4GHz single-core processor, and an 8-megapixel camera with support for 720p HD video capture.

The U.S. version is expected to have a front-facing camera as well, just like the Nokia N9 on which the Lumia 800 was modeled.

It will also have 16GB of internal memory with no expansion slot (but 25GB of free online storage using Microsoft's SkyDrive).

I expect pricing to fall into the $150 or $200 range with a two-year service agreement. Nokia may yet surprise us with even more Windows Phone handsets for the U.S. market, and I hope it does.

Stay tuned, though; our team will let you know what actually happens on January 9th! You can also check out even more smartphone predictions from CES 2012.