At its Strategy and Financial Briefing in London today, Nokia has confirmed it is aligning with Microsoft for its 2011 smartphone strategies. Specifically, Nokia will begin producing Windows Phone 7 devices for Microsoft in an effort to catch up with current mobile leaders iPhone and Google.
The broad strategic partnership between Microsoft and Nokia includes making the Windows Phone Nokia’s primary platform for smartphones in 2011. Bing will be Nokia’s primary search engine across all of its smartphone devices, for one, while Microsoft will adopt Nokia Maps as its primary mapping service. Nokia’s app store will merge with Microsoft’s Marketplace as well, likely bringing even more content and app options to Windows Phone 7 users.
Nokia has assured users that Symbian devices will still be produced, although at the same time noting that it will become more of a “franchise platform.” This presumably means that Nokia will continue to sell the devices, as well as introduce new phones on the Symbian OS currently in development, with the ultimate goal being to retain Nokia customers and eventually migrate them over to the Windows phone platform in the years to come.
MeeGo, Nokia’s Linux-based open source OS, will also continue being developed, with a new MeeGo device set for release in late 2011. Nokia’s game plan for MeeGo seems ultimately to be more long-term. Nokia seems to be hedging its bets, using MeeGo as an open source project to gauge the mobile market’s longer term future, in terms of trends to be on the look-out for.
What does this new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft mean for the future of the mobile market in general?
It’s difficult to know for sure, but we can make some educated guesses. Nokia is a well-known and respected mobile company, as is Microsoft in its own element. Apple and Google might be leading the mobile industry currently, but Windows Phone 7 is a cool operating system and with this boost it might finally get the audience it deserves.
Whereas Android hasn’t had the gaming success of iOS, Windows Phone 7 already has some really impressive titles that up the ante for mobile gaming. A bigger audience could make it the gamer’s choice OS. More competition for Apple and Google in this sphere will be nothing if not interesting.