A top Nokia exec just confirmed the much-rumored schedule for the next Windows Phone update, codenamed Apollo. Michael Halbherr, Executive VP for Location and Commerce, told us that it'll launch in mid-2012 and be a "very different game" to Mango -- hinting that Apollo actually refers to Windows Phone 8 rather than any mere decimal increment. What do we know about Apollo at this point? Well, not a great deal, but Halbherr also revealed that he's been pushing Microsoft to integrate NFC and a "positioning framework" to make its mobile OS work better with Nokia's Navteq mapping platform and thereby provide new location-based services. Sorry HTC, Samsung, but everything points to a more 'Nokia-fied' OS.

Update: We've spoken with some sources close to Microsoft who indicate that the timing given to us by Nokia is inaccurate. Unfortunately, the truth serum we used wore off before we were provided with a surrogate timeframe, but we'll of course keep our ears to the ground.

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Windows Phone Apollo coming 'middle of next year,' says Nokia VP