Steve Ballmer, the head honcho at Microsoft, has acknowledged that, almost a year after its launch, the Windows Phone 7 market share is still incredibly small compared to that of Android and the iPhone. However, he was still confident that it had been a “heck of a year”.

In a speech to delegates at the company’s Worldwide Partners Conference, Ballmer took to the stage to talk all things Microsoft, including Windows Phone 7:

"Phones? We've gone from very small to very small, but it's been a heck of a year," he said. "And you're going to see a lot of progress in that competitive market this year."

He is, of course, referring to three main upcoming events: the deal with Nokia; the Windows Phone 7 Mango update that is coming out towards Christmas and boasting some 500 new features; and the result of an earlier promise of a bevvy of new handsets later this year.

Microsoft has been keeping the pressure up on Google and Apple with a constant flow of news, announcements and releases around the WP7 OS in recent months - firstly by seeding phones to key journalists (you can read our thoughts here), and then developers around the world, in a bid to encourage them to build apps.

Will 2011 be the year that Windows Phone ceases to be “small”? Let us know in the comments below...