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First Nokia Windows Phone unlikely to launch before autumn 'Mango' update

Nokia may not be making Windows Phone 7 handsets after all. A report claims the company will wait until the 'Mango' update comes out this autumn, which will have a different name.

Nokia isn't making Windows Phone 7 smart phones after all. No, it hasn't already fled Microsoft's warm embrace for Android -- despite Google boss Eric Schmidt keeping the door open for such a move. Instead, it seems Nokia will wait for the next generation of Microsoft's Windows Phone OS before it releases its first WP handsets.

Nokia hasn't said as much, but the Guardian points to CEO Stephen Elop's comments throughout the last week, where he has been careful to only talk about "Windows Phone" rather than "Windows Phone 7". Nokia has also refused to confirm a likely release date for its first Microsoft-powered handsets, although prototype images that leaked out earlier this week hinted that development is coming along smoothly.

So what is Elop and his company waiting for? Mango. That's the codename of a major update to the Windows Phone OS expected to roll out in the autumn, possibly as early as October. That's not the update shown off by CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this week at Mobile World Congress, though, which will bring multitasking, Twitter integration, Internet Explorer 9 and Kinect gaming to Windows Phone 7.

The theory is that Mango will not be called Windows Phone 8 when it comes out, but something more like Windows Phone 7.5. Nokia would presumably be the first handset manufacturer to have phones available running this new software, working with Microsoft's engineers as Elop and Ballmer said in their joint press conferences in recent days.

With Elop saying that Nokia expects to be hitting its stride with Windows Phone sales in 2012, a first device this autumn would be about the right timing, and could be unveiled at the annual Nokia World conference, which was held in September last year. Even so, it's a heck of a wait.