Looks like new Nokia phones will include Lync Mobile app

Nokia Lumia 800 includes beta Lync Mobile for Windows app, yet video isn't supported

Nokia today showed off its first Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 800 and 710, although neither will be available in the U.S. until early 2012, missing the holiday season here. Both devices will first roll out in Europe in November and December.

One report said that the devices contained a beta of the long-promised, long-awaited Windows Mobile Lync app -- a metro style app. So said a reporter from WP Central. Units are on hand at Nokia World 2011, which kicked off today in London.

Background: Lync not enterprise-ready, claims Microsoft ISV-turned-rivalNokia's strong start for its Windows Phone handsets

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Here are some shots of the beta Lync app on the Lumia 800:

The Lync app on the 800 didn't have video support, WP Central said. Sigh. Here's hoping that when Microsoft does finally get its Lync mobile act together, video will be included.

Lack of support for Lync on mobile devices -- even Microsoft's own -- is one of the complaints against the Lync, Microsoft's Web conferencing/IM/VoIP product. It is one reason that one MVP-turned-competitor claimed that Lync isn't enterprise ready.

However, in Microsoft last quarterly earnings call held this month, Lync was called out as a sleeper success. Sales on it were up 25 percent. Plus, Lync is one of the options in Microsoft's Office 365 cloud service and, we're told by Microsoft, it's a popular option for Office 365 users at that.

Ultimately, Lync users are going to want to be able to send instant messages, participate in Web conferences, and get their phone calls routed to/from their mobile phones. Although Lync 2010 shipped a year ago, in November, Microsoft's much-promised mobile client for Windows phones, iPhone, BlackBerry, has yet to appear.

In the meantime, Microsoft now owns Skype and is working to integrate Skype into Lync somehow. Will this delay the Lync mobile apps even longer? Will the Skype app become the Lync mobile app?

In the meantime, iPhone users have third-party app options to access their corporate Lync server, such as iDialog. And Android users also have a third-party client from ISVs like  Damaka. Damaka works with the iPhone, too. The only ones left out of the party for the time being are Microsoft's own Windows phone customers. This at least, perhaps, until the Nokia phones arrive and hopefully not a moment longer.

By the way, the Nokia phones do look awesome. I would consider giving up my HTC Evo Shift Android phone for one, if I could be assured that the Windows phone would crash less often than my Android phone. I tested a HTC Arrive a few months back and even my fickle teenagers liked it a lot. Software choices are better with Android, but I'm finding that new software I download doesn't always play nicely with the software I already have -- and then I suffer with things like slow screen loads, application crashes/errors and total system failures.

My point is that even though Microsoft is WAY late to the smartphone party -- and the iPhone looks more awesome all the time -- there is still room to do well, if Microsoft can at least outdo Android, if not Apple. Big if ... Microsoft isn't known for crafting perfect, bug-free software. But it is downright painful to see it is squandering its opportunity by not making its phone play nicely with its bread-and-butter Office apps including Lync.

Here's a preview of the Nokia Lumia phones coming to the U.S. next year ... (Here's more Nokia Lumia YouTube videos.)

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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