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Nokia Windows Phone 7Victor Saeijs, VP of Nokia Europe, this week told a group at the 2011 Mobile Telecompaper conference that the company’s first Windows Phone 7 devices would launch this year in six strategic European countries, according to All About Phones. The countries will be the Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Spain, and Italy.

Nokia has become an increasingly irrelevant player in mobile technology, especially in North America. Its introduction of Windows Phone 7 devices will help give the company a shot at reclaiming lost market share and at rebuilding its reputation as a serious smartphone player. Starting its new Windows Phone devices in Europe makes sense, as the company still has a strong foothold in European and emerging markets.

Saeijs said the Netherlands was a notable market because it has one of the highest penetrations for smartphone use in the world: 80 percent smartphone users and 20 percent feature phone users.

Saeijs also noted that the long-awaited Symbian Anna OS would be rolled out in the Netherlands with the Nokia E7, Nokia N8, and Nokia C7 devices in July. He also mentioned that an even bigger upgrade to Symbian, dubbed Belle, would be arriving later this year. But really, since Nokia is pushing ahead with Windows Phone and plans to leave Symbian behind, these announcements don’t mean much in the long run.

Nokia is still the world’s largest producer of cell phones, but its market share is diminishing and it is losing ground at an incredible rate in the smartphone market, where Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android platform, and RIM’s BlackBerry all have a significant hold. Nokia hopes Windows Phone 7 will help reinvigorate its smartphone business and bring back lost customers.

A North American Nokia spokesperson couldn’t confirm Saejis’ comments, but did say this:

“We’re not announcing market specific details at this time. I can only repeat what we have said before—we have increased confidence that we will launch our first Nokia with Windows Phone later this year.”

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