By Claire Reilly

Following yesterday’s launch of the Nokia Lumia 800, sat down with Nokia product manager Stephen Baxter to discuss the company’s new partnership with Windows Phone, and the new benefits it would bring to retailers and consumers.

Current: What do you think the partnership between Nokia and Windows Phone offers retailers and consumers?

Stephen Baxter: Probably the key thing to notice is that we’re bringing consumers a third ecosystem to the market. Android is strongly aligned with OEMs like Samsung, HTC and LG. Then you’ve got Apple with their iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone, and they’ve really got that ecosystem down quite well.

So for a long time I think the market has been without a third ecosystem. But we introduced the partnership with Microsoft and we’re helping build that third ecosystem, which gives not only operators but also retailers and their customers a choice.

People know Windows from their PCs, so does Nokia have half the work done for them?

S: Not necessarily, no. We still need to educate customers on the Windows Phone platform, because a lot of people out there haven’t used Windows Phone before. I don’t think it’s necessarily safe to presume that if you use PC at home you’re going to buy a Windows Phone.

But there are other elements that Nokia with Windows Phone brings in the form of Office, and everyone knows Office. So you can utilise your PowerPoint, Word documents and Excel on the device, and there are all your Xbox live gaming experiences available on the phone. There are definite benefits, but we do need to spend a time educating customers about those benefits.

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What are the unique selling points of the Lumia 800 that retailers can communicate to consumers?

The first one is definitely the design. There’s just been a sea of black devices for the last 18 months, but we’re the first Windows Phone manufacturer to incorporate colour into our hardware.

The second feature would be our imaging. The Lumia 800 has an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and Carl Zeiss lens. Again we’ve always been good at doing imaging, so it’s really good to see that we’ve incorporated that into our Lumia range.

And then of course our Nokia applications. Nokia Drive offers customers turn-by-turn navigation for free, so they don’t need to go out and purchase any applications.

The key thing that Windows Phone also brings to consumers is social networking. You don’t have to sit there spending hours downloading all your applications, because the People Hub can take care of all that social networking integration, just by signing in.

How do you plan to educate retailers and consumers?

You’ll notice a lot of live devices in a lot of retailers. Our demo handsets are populated with a lot of content to give them that lived-in feel. There’s nothing worse than walking up to a display handset on a stand and seeing that it’s just bare. Whereas all our demo devices come pre-loaded with contacts and messages, you can download apps from the market place, all that kind of thing. So you get the actual experience of what the device is capable of, in the store.