When Nokia announced at the start of the year that it was to partner with Microsoft and power its future smartphones with the Windows Phone operating system, we know that it would be a race against time for the Finnish mobile giant to get its handsets to market.

Despite reports Nokia will launch its first Windows Phone handsets in both the US and Europe in the coming weeks, other regions might not be so lucky. A new report from WP7r.com suggests that Nokia Windows Phone fans in Australia will be forced to wait until the first quarter of 2012 until they can get their hands on the first Microsoft-centric Nokia smartphones.

Nokia issued a response to the Windows Phone focused blog, noting:

We won’t be releasing a Nokia on Windows Phone until Q1 of next year. Can’t be more specific than that sorry!

The release date may not come as a surprise to many, given the fact that Nokia is actively targeting North America to help regain its share of the smartphone market it lost to rivals Apple and Samsung.

Nokia has teased its “Sea Ray” prototype, which is expected to be one of the first of its Windows Phone devices, expected to become available from October. The company has begun to utilise a new numerical naming system (between 100-900), categorising its smartphones by feature-set and pricing. It is expected that Nokia’s new devices will start at 700 series, moving up to 900 for its “super” smartphones.