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Nokia to unveil first Windows phone this quarter

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop promises to launch the first Windows phone by the end of the year, with some sources eyeing the first device by the end of October.

CNET's concept art of the 'Sea Ray' Nokia-made Windows Phone.
CNET's concept art of the 'Sea Ray' Nokia-made Windows Phone. Josh Long/CNET

Nokia is promising to launch its first Windows Phone during the current quarter.

CEO Stephen Elop made the announcement yesterday at a technology event in the company's home base of Helsinki, Finland, according to Reuters and other news sources. Nokia has been eyeing a 2011 launch for its first Windows Phone devices since this summer, so it has little choice but to hit the market this quarter to reach that goal.

The first handset could come as early as the end of this month to coincide with the Nokia World trade show taking place in London on October 26 and 27. If so, that would force the company to push out the new phone early next month if it wants to reach consumers in time for the crucial holiday-shopping season, Reuters noted.

Microsoft Canada reportedly and accidentally tipped off the names of Nokia's initial Windows phones last week, referring to the Nokia Sabre and Nokia Sea Ray in a promotional competition, according to CNET's UK site and other sources.

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• Imagining a Nokia Windows Phone
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Nokia has been hit hard by growing competition from Apple and Android. Once the leader in the global mobile phone market, Nokia's Symbian OS has since been surpassed by Android, according to the latest data from research firms Gartner and Canalys.

The company just announced plans to slash another 3,500 jobs on top of the 4,000 due to be cut by the end of next year and the 3,000 Symbian employees being transferred to consulting firm Accenture.

Nokia is now banking on Microsoft's Windows Phone to pull itself out of its current quagmire. In an interview last month with AllThingsD's Ina Fried, Chris Weber, the head of Nokia's U.S. division, acknowledged that the company is putting all its efforts into Windows Phone.

"When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc.," Weber said. "It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn't matter what we do (elsewhere)."