Recently at the Imagine Cup 2011, happening right here in New York City, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his usual keynote speech.

Towards the middle, he finally gave a nod to Windows Phone and even dropped some info regarding the 2nd generation "Mango" phones that we're all expecting late this year, including Nokia's entry:

"Windows Phone. You know, a year ago we didn't have a phone in the market. Now, we're charging forward with Nokia. We have the second generation of our phones coming out this Christmas, and people are starting to do things they had never imagined before. I love the applications that I saw for the Windows Phone from the people in this room, and the way you're pushing that device, and using that device. It was really exciting for me."

Some folks are interpreting his remarks as a sign of slippage on "Mango's" release, noting how Christmas is a few days post-Fall.

We're a bit more hesitant to make such a claim as it raises the question: Are new WP7 hardware releases tied to the software update? We're betting on "no". New hardware has a much more flexible release schedule and we see no inclination that Microsoft will hold off on the "Mango" software updates for current devices until new hardware comes out. Sure, it could happen, but we're not betting on it. Instead, we'll probably see a rolling out of new hardware over a few months ending 2011 into 2012. In other words, not much of a story here.

Source: Microsoft