In a recent interview, Nokia bigwig, Stephen Elop, said that it is "possible" that we may see the first Nokia-branded WP7 phones this year. And even though Elop and other Nokia execs are gunshy about committing to that possibility, the head of Russian mobile giant Sviaznoj, Denis Liudkovski, is offering up a little more certainty. Nokia and Sviaznoj are in discussions on a possible deal that would create Nokia "shop-in-shop" outlets within the Russian retailer's stores, and after the meeting Liudkovski had this to say:
“We are the key Nokia partner in Russia. Thanks’ to the cooperation agreements on the “shop-in-shop” format, all the newest models show up at Sviaznoj earlier then in competing outlets…. We expect that the first Windows Mobile based Nokia smartphone will show up in our stores before the end of 2011”
Liudkovski did not give a reason for his expectations, but presumably, his confidence is stemming from some behind-the-scenes assurance he received during the meeting. We also assume that by "Windows Mobile" he meant "Windows Phone." Even the big guys slip up from time to time.