Microsoftie gives Nokia's WP7 début 8 out of 10

Those looking forward to a stunning début device from Nokia's Windows Phone division might want to look away now: even Microsoft doesn't give the handset more than eight out of ten.

In a teaser posted to Twitter late last night, Joe Marini - a principal programme manager for Microsoft's Windows Phone web platform - claimed to have early access to the first Windows Phone 7 device to come out of his company's partnership with ailing Finnish mobile maker Nokia.

"I just got a chance to try out one of the slickest looking #Nokia phones I have ever seen," he burbled away to his followers. "Soon, you will too! #wp7"

The fact that Nokia is working on a Windows Phone device is no secret: finding its own Symbian and MeeGo platforms failing to perform next to the likes of Google's Android and Apple's iOS, Nokia decided to cut its losses and attempt to regain lost ground in the smartphone market by signing a surprise deal with Microsoft for Windows Phone licensing.

The deal has proven good for Nokia thus far: Microsoft is throwing money at the company to keep it afloat until the first devices can be shipped, and the tight partnership organised by Nokia head and ex-Microsoftie Stephen Elop is known to include early access to next-generation Windows Phone technologies.

Sadly for any Nokia or Windows Phone fans hoping to be blown away by the company's début device, it's not sounding anything special. Although described as 'the slickest looking' phone to have ever come out of the Finnish company's factories, Marini - a man for whom the success of Windows Phone is everything, remember - was only willing to score it as an eight out of ten.

"Overall, I would say an 8," he clarified in response to questions regarding the device. "Solid feel, good camera, responsive UI, and nice little touches on the body construction.

"The camera was good, but I didn't have optimal lighting. I'd like a larger screen, too," Marini said, when asked to clarify why he felt the need to dock two points from the phone's score.

Although eight out of ten is a perfectly respectable score - and represents a high-end device which is a cut above the average Windows Phone device - it's clearly not the landmark début for which Nokia fans were hoping. Reference to a small screen, in particular, is concerning, and suggests that the company is aiming for a mass-market device rather than a flagship superphone.

Sadly, Marini would not be pressed on an expected launch date - other than to say that the public would get their hands on the device 'soon.'

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