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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 27, 2011 at 7:25 AM

In high-stakes unveiling, Nokia shows off first Windows phones

(This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Oct. 27, 2011. – Janet I. Tu)

With much at stake for both Nokia and Microsoft, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop showed off the first fruits of the partnership between the two companies as he unveiled the Finnish phone-maker’s first Windows phones Wednesday: the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710.

Both have specs similar to a range of other smartphones, though not quite on par with the latest high-end ones. Their prices fall within the range of their peers’.

Neither phone will be available in the U.S. this year, though they are being shipped to other countries now, Elop said in his keynote speech, which opened the Nokia World conference in London this week.

Elop did not clarify whether the Lumia 800 and 710 would be coming to the U.S. at all, but he did say that “a portfolio of products” would be introduced to the U.S. in early 2012.

In general, initial reaction to the Lumia 800 and 710 has been fairly positive, with the devices being seen as the first in a line of what should be even better handsets in 2012. The design of the 800, in particular, is drawing praise.

But some analysts also said the devices aren’t quite as good, nor different enough from, the latest cutting-edge technology of competitors.

“I think these are two nice phones that Nokia has introduced,” said Rob Sanfilippo of independent analysis firm Directions on Microsoft. But “I definitely wouldn’t call them superior. And I wouldn’t say they’re anything revolutionary.”

Both phones have a 1.4-Ghz processor and 3.7-inch screen. The Lumia 800, which has an AMOLED screen and a camera with 8 megapixels and Carl Zeiss optics, is the high-end phone, expected to sell at retail for about 420 euros (or $585). It features the curved black-glass front and colorful polycarbonate body of Nokia’s earlier N9 phones.

The more budget-minded Lumia 710 is expected to retail at about 270 euros (or $376).

(Continue reading the story here.)

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