Hoping to distract, however slightly, from Apple’s new iPhone announcement today, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has pledged yet again to launch the company’s first Windows Phone devices this quarter, Reuters reports.

Unfortunately, that tells us little about Nokia’s ability to ship the phones to consumers before the holiday season.

“Our belief is that there is a clear opportunity for an alternative ecosystem,” Elop said while speaking to a crowd at a technology fair.

Nokia has previously said that it will launch its flagship Windows Phones in Europe this year, but Elop’s comments serve as a reminder that the company is still on track. The Finnish phone maker is expected to announce the phones at its Nokia World conference in London in late October.

In June, we caught our first glimpse of Nokia’s prototype Windows Phone device, codenamed “Sea Ray”. Nokia also showed off some early mockups of its Windows Phone models (see above) earlier this year.

I’ve argued in the past that Microsoft will doggedly fight to reclaim its mobile relevance, and it could very well achieve that with Nokia being the premiere Windows Phone 7 device maker.

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