Nokia: We can change WP7, but why would we?

Nokia may not tinker with the Windows Phone 7 operating system as deeply as has been suggested, according to Nokia's CTO.

Since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership first became official on February 11, tech outlets - including Neowin - have made much of comments suggesting Nokia would have carte blanche access to the underlying foundations of WP7 and may use that access to customize the user experience.

But in a Q&A session at the Mobile World Congress earlier this week, Nokia Chief Technology Officer Rich Greene appeared keen to put such speculation to rest, once and for all.

In the session, covered by WPCentral, Mr Greene accepted that Nokia had been given the right to ''manipulate'' the Windows Phone experience, but questioned why his company would do so.

''We certainly do, in the context of this agreement, have the right to manipulate the UX, the UI, etc. but...I'm not speaking for the plan, I'm speaking as the Chief Technology Officer: Why would you?'' he said.

While Nokia wants people to gravitate towards their WP7 devices - the first of which may arrive late this year - he said ''variance'' between the experience on devices from different manufacturers would become a hindrance for users.

''The hardware and additional services we can offer will bring people to us, but if there are unfamiliar with a different environment, there may be a barrier to that, so why do it?'' he said.

The company would focus its energies building ''on the platform'' rather than in it, he said.

''There's unlimited amounts of opportunity to differentiate and innovate in these things,'' he said.

To be fair, the MWC session is not the first time Nokia has played down suggestions it would take a wrecking ball to the Windows Phone experience. On the very day Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop emphasised that while his company could change WP7, it would not necessarily do so.

''I want to put up a warning here. Someone asked me today that if you could change everything on the Windows Phone interface to suit Nokia, would you? Yes. We can do all of that. We have the ability to do all of that. But that could be the worst possible thing we do. We are trying to build commonality in terms of user experience,'' he said.

WPCentral also reported that in the same MWC session this week, Windows Phone general manager Matthew Bencke suggested Microsoft would tap Nokia's mapping experience to integrate geolocation features into their platform.

''I can imagine a geopowered hub...for geoinformed activities,'' he said.

Meantime, Reuters reports Mr Elop has told Finnish journalists the Nokia-Microsoft partnership would be finalised ''in a couple of months (or) it might take a bit longer''.

Image Credit: Staenz

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