Nokia's fighting an uphill battle to retain its community of developers as it switches focus to Windows Phone and Microsoft's Windows Phone Developer Tools from what was a joint Symbian / MeeGo smartphone strategy unified under the Qt development framework. As such, Espoo just notified its Launchpad members that they'll be receiving about $1,000 in free hardware in the form of Nokia's new flagship E7 QWERTY slider and a "Nokia WP7 device" just as soon as it's available. Nokia's also tossing in a few other incentives like free access to the next Nokia World / Nokia Developer Summit, three months free tech support for all Nokia technologies (limited to 10 tickets), a free User Experience evaluation for one app, business development assistance, and help publishing apps on the Ovi store. This is also great news for us as the chance of seeing leaked pics of that first Nokia WP7 device have just increased dramatically.

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Nokia giving developers free E7 and Nokia WP7 handsets