Nokia launches Lumia Windows Phones

Finally reveals first Microsoft-powered smartphones
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Troubled phonemaker Nokia has finally unveiled smartphones running on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system, the Nokia Lumia 710 and Nokia Lumia 800.

The new phones appeared at the annual Nokia World event in London on Wednesday, with the flagship Nokia Lumia 800 based on a 3.7-inch AMOLED display, 1.4GHz processor and a high-end camera based on Carl Zeiss optics.

The Lumia 800 looks remarkably like the ill-fated Nokia N9, the handset that received only a half-hearted launch. The N9 represented both the swan song and the swan dive of the MeeGo OS, the first and last outing before Nokia dumped the OS in favor of Microsoft's finest.

The announcement of the Lumia 800 was immediately followed by a trio of Britain's network carriers, Orange, Three and Vodaphone, declaring that the phone would be available on those networks.

Indeed Orange is so keen to snap up new users attracted to Nokia's handset that the firm is offering a free Xbox 360 console to sweeten the deal.

"Eight months ago, we shared our new strategy and today we are demonstrating clear progress of this strategy in action."

"We're driving innovation throughout our entire portfolio, from new smartphone experiences to ever smarter mobile phones," said Nokia chief Stephen Elop in a release.

Yet one of the most surprising aspects of Nokia's launch is that Nokia specific software apps and modifications are virtually nowhere to be found. To all intents and purposes the phones are stock Nokia devices.

That rather begs the question as to just what Nokia was doing in the past eight months while rival smartphone makers bashed out Windows Phone handsets with great enthusiasm.

While the 800 is hogging most of the limelight, the lower-end Nokia Lumia 710 is based on a 3.7-inch LCD display instead of the 800's AMOLED and carries a significantly weaker camera then the flagship 800. The 710 is aggressively priced at around 270 Euros.

Both the Nokia Lumia 710 and the 800 will arrive across Europe in November with other worldwide market to follow.

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