The London-based Nokia World conference kicks off on October 26 (Wednesday) and rumors have been flying fast and furious as to what to expect.
The agenda of the two-day conference -- even the invitation-only components -- is all public. There will be tracks on winning the next billion smartphone users; developing for the Windows Phone platform; and building out entertainment offerings on the coming Nokia Windows Phones. (I'm thinking we're going to hear more about Microsoft Office on Nokia's phones, as well, given William Kennedy, Corporate Vice President of Office Communications & Mobile Experiences Team, is on the docket, as well.)
The speaker line-up includes a number of Microsoft Windows Phone big-wigs besides Kennedy-- everyone from Windows Phone Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore and Senior Director of Windows Phone Development Brandon Watson, to Windows Phone Engineering Chief Terry Myerson and Windows Phone Corporate Vice President of Marketing Achim Berg.
Microsoft Steve Ballmer said during an interview last week that Nokia would be showing "a bunch" of Windows Phones at the show. The most common guestimate I've seen is "a bunch" means either two or three: The Nokia 800 (codenamed "SeaRay"); the slightly smaller "Sabre" and possibly a business-user-focused "Ace." Given that there are a number of invitation-only carrier and retail sessions at Nokia World, Microsoft's Windows Phone BFF also may show off privately other phones coming later next year, too.
As to which countries and carriers will be getting Nokia's first Windows Phones, there's no official word (or dates) yet. But according to a new Ad Age article, it sounds like there's a possibility that Nokia's Windows Phones may not be available in the U.S. in 2011l, but will be launching in Europe some time in November first. Nokia is said to be seeking an ad agency in the States to launch its phones here next year. Given Microsoft launched its Windows Phones a year ago in Europe first, I guess this kind of delay shouldn't be surprising. But still a downer for Windows Phone fans who've been waiting to see what Nokia might have here in time for this year's holiday shopping season....
Nokia is just one of Microsoft's Windows Phone OEMs, but one with special privileges. Nokia is building Windows Phone components that may be unique to its platform and/or which it may offer back to Microsoft for inclusion in other Windows Phones. Nokia is known for its expertise (and patents) in phone cameras, maps, and unusual industrial-design details, among other areas.
Nokia's relationship with multiple suppliers could enable the company to make Windows Phones more cheaply and introduce new models at lower price points -- something Microsoft officials are promising for next year, especially as the "Tango" Windows Phone operating system enables the Softies and partners to enter new markets.
I'll be at the Nokia World show this week with my ZDNet colleagues Matthew Miller and Zack Whittaker, as well as our News.com compatriots Maggie Reardon and Stephen Shankland. We're planning to group live-blog the first day keynote at 9 am BST (4 am ET; 1 am PT). Come back to "All About Microsoft" then if you'd like to chime in along with us.
Update: The keynote (Day 1 only, I believe) will be webcast here: http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld.