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Nokia Windows Phone Mango mobiles ripening this summer

Those of us holding our breath for news of a Windows Phone handset from Nokia can exhale this summer, when details of the phones will break cover, according to Microsoft.

The first Nokia phones with Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system will be fleshed out further this summer, and they'll have the latest version of the software, Mango, on board. Redmond bigwig Achim Berg announced the news at the launch of the software today in London.

We've been salivating over the prospect of Nokia hardware running Windows Phone since the two companies officially joined forces in February. Images of colourful Nokia prototypes whetted our appetites further.

Although Microsoft was tight-lipped about Nokia's plans for its software at today's launch, Berg confirmed that at least some of our curiosity will be sated by the end of the summer.

We'll probably have to wait several months after that, however, to actually see the Nokias on shelves. The update to Windows Phone Mango won't be ready until the autumn, according to Berg, so we expect the Finnish phones will hold off until then.

Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE will also be making Mango phones, which should bring some cheaper options to the pricey pack already led by HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell. 

Mango will bring more than a fruity feel to upcoming Windows Phone handsets. It also brings multi-tasking, pictured above, which will allow you to hop between apps by holding down your phone's back button.

The refreshed OS also features a new version of Internet Explorer that Microsoft says is identical to the version that runs on your desktop computer.

"It will not be similar to a PC," said Berg during today's press conference, "it will be exactly the same. It will use exactly the same code."

The implication is that the fully fledged browser should render pages more accurately than a mobile browser. It should also be easier for Web developers to code for.

Mango adds some social-networking treats too. Twitter and LinkedIn join Facebook on the phone, so you can see your mates' updates straight from your address book. You will also be able to group together contacts from multiple sources -- Facebook and Gmail, for example. Once they're thrown together, you can text or email them all at once.

If you already have a Windows Phone mobile -- and let's face it, who hasn't? -- Mango will come as a free automatic update, starting this autumn.

Update: We've updated our story to clarify that Microsoft can't promise that we'll see Nokia's Windows Phones launched this summer, but we will hear more details of the companies' plans for the phones.