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Nokia dials in to competition with revamped smartphones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nokia N8, E7, C7 and the C6 all use new Symbian 3 operating system
  • Finnish cellphone company bidding to recover lost ground to rivals such as Apple
  • Nokia also announces improvements in developer tools to make building apps easier

London, England (CNN) -- Finnish cellphone giant Nokia on Tuesday unveiled its latest range of smartphones as it bids to recover lost ground to rivals Apple and Blackberry.

The launch follows a series of major changes at board level, with the recent resignations of chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and smartphone operations chief Anssi Vanjoki.

Last week it was announced that Stephen Elop, who previously headed up Microsoft's Business Division, would take over from Kallasvuo on September 20, while Vanjoki, who is credited for revamping the company's smartphone business, would remain in his post until a replacement is found. According to media reports, he was thought to be one of the leading internal candidates for the CEO role.

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"The time is right to accelerate the company's renewal; to bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order to drive company success," Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors, said in a statement.

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That renewal process continued at Tuesday's Nokia World showcase in London, when three new smartphones -- the E7, C7 and the C6 -- were introduced. Like the flagship N8 model, unveiled earlier this year, the sleek new devices are powered by a new Symbian 3 operating system which offers hundreds of new features such as the ability to play high definition video through your phone to your wide screen TV at home.

Symbian is already the most widely used operating system for mobiles in the world, but Nokia admits competitors such as Apple and Google have started to catch up.

"Today our fight back to smartphone leadership shifts into high gear," Niklas Savander, Nokia's markets chief, told delegates in London.

"Despite new competition, Symbian remains the most widely used smartphone platform in the world. Our new family of smartphones introduced today feature the all-new Symbian OS, rewritten to be faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer friendly."

However technology journalist Kevin Tofel, who attended Nokia World, told CNN that he feels Nokia may stem the loss of market share with their latest offerings but this is "basically a band-aid."

He added: "What Nokia is actually saying is MeeGo, their next big announcement and operating system, is really going to shake up the competitors.

What Nokia is actually saying is MeeGo, their next big announcement and operating system, is really going to shake up the competitors.
--Journalist Kevin Tofel
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"But I'm not hearing anyone from any country raving about the new products at the moment."

With its 12 megapixel camera complete with Carl Zeiss optics, a confident Nokia described the N8 as "the ultimate entertainment smartphone and world's best cameraphone."

What about the rest of the family?

-- Described as the "ultimate business smartphone," the E7 boasts direct, real-time and secure access to corporate email inboxes and other personal applications via its four-inch display with slide-out keyboard.

-- The C7 "social-networking smartphone" provides live updates from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter on its 3.5-inch touch-screen display.

-- The C6 offers a more compact experience which combines elements taken from its bigger cousins, such as a front-facing camera and ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility.

All four models will be available in time for the key Christmas period and will have access to the revamped Ovi Store, Nokia's version of Apple's App store where users can download applications, games and videos.

Nokia also announced a number of improvements in developer tools making it simpler, easier and more lucrative for people to build and distribute apps.

Last week Apple announced it would be removing its unpopular restrictions on what programming tools developers can use to create iOS apps. According to analysts, this means programmers will be able to use tools from Apple's rivals -- most notably Adobe -- to build software for Apple's iPhones, iPads and iPods.

"We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart," Apple told CNNMoney.com. "This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need."

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

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