Nokia flagship store in Helsinki

Nokia reveals first Windows phones

Nokia has unveiled its first phones to use Microsoft Windows software in a bid to keep up with rivals in the smartphone market.

The world's largest mobile phone maker unveiled the lumia 710 and lumia 800 in London this week, which were priced at 270 and 420 euros respectively excluding taxes and subsidies.

The phones will be available in European and other markets around the world by the end of this year and in the United States in early 2012 and into mainland China in the first half of 2012.

With Apple and Google dominating smartphone market, Nokia decided to ditch its aging Symbian platform in favour of Microsoft's software in a risky deal in February that spooked investors.

"Operators really want to have another company on the scene: they don't want Google and Apple to rule the mobile universe," said Magnus Jern, chief executive of Barcelona-based mobile app development firm Golden Gekko, speaking ahead of the launch.

HTC, Fujitsu and Samsung Electronics have beaten Nokia to unveil models using the latest Windows software, Mango.

Nokia and Microsoft have said they will focus on close co-operation with operators to support the platform.

Nokia's market value has halved since February as investors are unsure whether it can ever regain the market share it has lost.

Its third-quarter results beat low expectations, sparking hopes that the company can survive a painful revamp, but smartphone sales still dropped 38 per cent from a year ago.

With Microsoft software, Nokia hopes to gain the kind of attention Apple and Google have attracted from software developers that enrich their devices and the lumia 800 in particular will include a full and free navigation service.

Research firm Strategy Analytics expects Microsoft to double its share of the Western European smartphone market during 2012 to 12.3 per cent, helped by the Nokia partnership.

The 12.3 per cent forecast for Microsoft's software refers to its use across several mobile phone makers and compares with the much higher market share Nokia's Symbian platform alone previously enjoyed -- it controlled 41 per cent of the West European market as recently as the first half of 2010.

The annual Nokia World media and industry event in London this week includes speakers from the world's largest carriers: China Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and MTN.

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