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Nokia's first Windows Phones see light of day

Nokia introduced the Lumia smartphone line today, the first of its global wave of phones powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Living up to Nokia's reputation, the phones are bold, beautiful — and not yet available in the United States.

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Both the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 have 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreens and 1.4GHz processors with graphics processor, but the 800 is metal, with a curved glass front. It's so smooth, you hardly know where the metal ends and the glass begins. As the flagship, the 800 comes with an 8-megapixel camera, and will cost a pretty penny: 420 Euros, or about $585 unsubsidized.

The junior 710 is plastic, with interchangeable backplates of varying colors, and has only a 5-megapixel camera. As such, it will cost far less, 270 Euros, or $376.

That is, if you can get it. The good news is, Nokia will roll out the phone in many markets in 2011, starting with France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK in November. By year end, it should also be in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan. But while it will come to "further markets" in 2012, there's no word on U.S. availability.

In addition to the broad range of Windows Phone functionality, Nokia will add some software of its own, most notably its well-regarded mapping and navigation apps. Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive will be included for free, providing walk and drive navigation for over 100 countries. There will also be a public transportation app that tracks buses, trains and other services in 430 cities worldwide.

From the beginning of the rumors about the Nokia-Microsoft partnership, nearly a year ago, we've thought of this as a good pairing. Nokia had a terrible smartphone OS, and Microsoft needed a massive global partner willing to go exclusive with Windows Phone. Nokia needs more presence in the U.S., and Microsoft needs to gain ground in areas not already saturated with Android and iPhone.

Pretty hardware, and an up-to-date operating system in Windows Phone 7.5 (a.k.a. Mango), are a great start, though we'll see if it's enough to give Windows Phone real momentum before Windows 8 arrives. That operating system should give Windows Phone an added boost, as it shares much of the design language and developer tools.

Nokia also announced a line of low-end phones, the Asha series, powered by the Nokia Browser operating system. More info on all of the Nokia phones here.

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