Will Nokia Show Its First Windows Phone in Mid-August?

Are Microsoft and its largest mobile phone partner Nokia preparing to show off the first smartphones based on the collaboration they announced in February?

While suggestions that may happen soon are being denied, invitations to a joint event the two are holding in Cologne, Germany in mid-August seem to at least hint at that possibility.

After all, the timing would be about right, but Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) at least says not to let expectations run too high.

"The invite issued jointly by Nokia and Microsoft is intended for developers and relates to an informal gathering to introduce developers to both companies," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to InternetNews.com.

"No Nokia with Windows Phone products will be launched at that event," the spokesperson added.

That assertion seems to be at least partly undercut by the invitation sent out by the two companies regarding a "party" to be held later this month at the GamesCon conference in Cologne.

"Exciting actions and surprises will make it an evening to remember," the invitation said. That may at least leave the door open to the idea that a Windows Phone Mango-driven phone may be shown at the event.

Microsoft hit a key milestone for its Windows Phone "Mango" last week when the software giant announced that the first major update to its Windows Phone operating system had been "released to manufacturing."

RTM, as it's called in Microsoft's lexicon, is the final version of the code for a software product that is sent off to vendors for them to begin installing it in time to begin selling devices.

For Windows 7, for example, the code RTMed in late July and PCs with the code installed began selling in late October.

Microsoft and Nokia signed their definitive deal to use Windows Phone as the exclusive operating system on the mobile handset maker's smartphones in February.

In late May, a senior Nokia executive said that the company's first Windows Phone-powered smartphones are on track for commercial release by the end of this year.

A request to Nokia for comment was unanswered by publication.

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.