Nokia starting free developer Lumia 800 push next week

Nokia plans to distribute as many as several thousand free Lumia 800 smartphones to its developers, SlashGear has been informed, with the shipping process set to begin early next week. The pre-holiday coder reward is the latest part of Nokia's Launchpad scheme which gave out free E7 handsets earlier in the year, and is now trying to persuade developers to jump ship to Windows Phone.

"If you received a Nokia E7 back in February when we announced our new smartphone strategy, you'll automatically receive a Windows Phone device" Nokia told developers back in November. "If you are currently a Nokia Developer Champion or a Nokia Launchpad member, you are already eligible, and you will soon receive an e-mail to explain how to get your new Nokia Windows Phone."

That "soon" is in fact next week, we've been informed, though it's unclear how quickly Nokia will actually get the Lumia handsets out to those developers involved. Still, a free phone is a free phone, and we know there are plenty of people out there keen to get started populating the Windows Phone Marketplace.

It's been all-change in Windows Phone land recently, with division head honcho Andy Lees being shifted from his role. Initially the change looked to be a strategic one, potentially involving harmonizing the underlying kernel in Windows Phone and Windows 8, but subsequent leaks suggested Lees was "benched" after failing to deliver on platform growth.

More on the Nokia Lumia 800 in our full review.