After the Nokia merging with Microsoft news last month, the thing that everyone immediately focused on was when the first handsets would be available.

Given the scope of the deal and the many things that had to be agreed many analysts predicted that it would be many months before the two teams would even begin working together and that no Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 would be available until 2012.

Well today Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has confirmed to Reuters that his company has started developing its first Windows Phone handset, and clarified that this was indeed a working partnership and not some sort of acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft.

“We’re right now, today, having people work on the first Windows Phone devices from Nokia. That work is already under way. If this was an acquisition scenario, that wouldn’t be possible,”

With product development underway already, this makes Elop’s statement that he wants to see a Nokia WP7 device in 2011 a more realistic possibility.