Today Nokia announced what many speculators had been expecting: an alliance with Microsoft to create smartphones with Nokia hardware and Windows software.
One of the most interesting nuggets to spring from the hours-long press conference has been that Nokia has a special agreement that will allow it to tailor the Windows Phone 7 OS for its devices - something Microsoft has strictly forbade its other partner manufacturers, including HTC, LG and Samsung, to do.
Speaking to the roomful of journalists and analysts, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that Nokia could customise everything about Microsoft's four-month old OS - but that it most likely wouldn't. Instead, Elop said the company would work on features to maintain compatibility.
Though that doesn't sound promising in mixing up the current crop of cookie cutter Windows phones where manufacturers are only allowed to add self-contained software Hubs that don't integrate much with the rest of the system, Nokia says differentiation will come in the form of 'unique experiences' that merge what each company does best.
One that the company was willing to share was 'Capture and Share' - take a photo with Nokia's superior camera lens; share it using Microsoft's social-centric software. We'll have to wait and see how this plays differently to the social features already available on tons of camera phones.
Nokia will also be able to tinker with the WP7 hardware requirements - which include such high-end specs as a 1GHz processor, widescreen display and HD camera - which means we should not only see some hardware differentiation between Windows phones, but we should see some budget-friendly options too. In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said as much.
Despite not confirming when the first Nokia Windows phone will ship: "It's quite clear that 2012 will be a year that we ship substantial volumes of Nokia Windows devices at various price points," he said.