Nokia: First WP7 Devices Will Debut In Six European Markets

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One of the biggest reasons that Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has dumped Symbian in favor of Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is to better tackle winning back some market share and mindshare in the U.S. But it looks like it will try out its first WP7 devices in markets where it is already strong. In a speech at a conference in Amsterdam, a Nokia executive let slip that the first countries that will see the devices will be France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

Speaking at the Mobile Netherlands conference, Victor Saeijs, VP for Nokia Europe also gave another confirmation that the first devices will hit the market this year.

The blog IntoMobile took this one step further and asked the well-placed blogger Eldar Murtazin whether he knew how many WP7 units Nokia planned to “make” this year, and the answer was an anemic 125,000. (Take that with a grain of salt, though: the number didn’t come direct from Nokia.)

Going back to debut markets, these six countries are important not only because they are strong markets for Nokia already — but they are also out in front when it comes to smartphone adoption and usage.

Just yesterday, Nielsen released a report detailing how currently 65 percent of all smartphone users in the country have Nokia devices, with overall smartphone adoption at a healthy 40 percent of all mobile subscribers.

Notably, the list of six does not include Nokia’s home country of Finland, or those emerging markets, like China, where Nokia has been putting so much emphasis of late in their strategy to become the smartphone brand for “the next billion” mobile users in the world.

But as we pointed out yesterday, it’s important for Nokia to stop the bleeding where it might be hurting it most right now, and this might be why European countries were named first by the Nokia exec. In the last quarter, Europe remained Nokia’s biggest market, with revenues of €2.08 billion ($2.9 billion) out of a total €7.08 billion ($10 billion). Greater China was second with €1.9 billion.

But as Nielsen pointed out yesterday, in Spain, its share has declined by some nine points just in the last quarter.

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