Nokia to Ship New Windows Phones Every 2-3 Months

A Nokia executive said the mobile device maker is shooting to get its first Windows Phone out this year -- though no guarantees -- and, after it does debut, the company plans to blitz the market with new handsets every two or three months.

At a meeting in New York, Thursday, Jo Harlow, Nokia's executive vice president of smart devices, reportedly told Forbes that the company is tentatively optimistic on shipping its first Windows Phone 7 (WP7) handset in 2011.

"Our target is absolutely still this year…and the target looks good," the report quoted Harlow as saying.

A Nokia spokesperson confirmed the tenor of Harlow's statements.

"As [Nokia CEO] Stephen Elop has said from the beginning, our target is to deliver our first Windows Phone devices this year, and Jo [Harlow] reiterated that the target still looks good," the spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an email.

Additionally, once the first Nokia WP7 phone drops, it will be phones away.

"She has also discussed our intention to continue releasing new devices in a rhythm that might be every couple of months," the spokesperson added.

In fact, carpet bombing the marketplace with a dozen or more new mobile devices every year is a common practice at Nokia.

Although no one is promising that Nokia's first WP7 device will be out by year's end, there have been hints lately that the possibility exists.

For instance, during a press event in New York Tuesday to promote the first major upgrade to WP7 -- dubbed "Mango" and primed for release in the early fall -- Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Mobile Communications Business, said Nokia already has phones running WP7 in its labs.

The two companies signed an agreement in February whereby Nokia will replace the Symbian operating system on its smartphones with WP7.

That deal, which had been rumored to be in the works for months, is clearly one that Microsoft has been counting on to give it a leg up with sales of WP7 devices, after a slow start for WP7 out of the gate.

In fact, last week analyst firm Gartner said that only 1.6 million WP7 devices sold during the first quarter of the year, largely because consumers have been underwhelmed.

Nokia remains the largest maker of mobile phones in the world, but in the smartphone market, with its Symbian phones, it comes in second behind Google Android.

Additionally, although sales of Nokia's smartphones grew from 24 million from the first quarter of 2010 to 27.6 million in the comparable quarter of 2011, its market share still fell from 44 percent last year to only 27.4 percent share in the first quarter of 2011.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment for this article.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.