It’s been a long time coming, but rumours have begun circling concerning the first fruits of the strategic partnership between the largest mobile manufacturer in the world, Nokia, and the largest desktop chip manufacturer in the world, Intel.

According to Finnish tech magazine Prosessori (via Engadget), Nokia will be unveiling the Intel Atom 1.2GHz-powered Nokia N9 next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

This will also represent the first major showing of the promising MeeGo OS, which is another joint Intel and Nokia venture.

Back on the hardware side, this partnership is interesting in a number of ways. Firstly, the Atom is not an ARM-designed chipset - a very rare beast in the mobile world - and signals the first of what will no doubt be many attempts by Intel to crack ARM’s dominance.

Nokia, on the other hand, may dominate vast swathes of Europe, Africa, and Asia, but it's never had much luck in taking the lucrative North American market with its Symbian-powered handsets. Having a new OS and an American-designed (as opposed to British) chipset marks the next chapter in addressing this.

It doesn’t seem too unlikely that Nokia and Intel will want to get their baby in the limelight soon. ARM’s Cortex A9 devices are currently grabbing all the headlines, with its Nvida Tegra 2 dual-core chips powering all the big Android phones displayed at CES 2011.

So while we recommend salt with this rumour, we request that you keep it to just a pinch.