Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nokia Ships New N8 Smartphone

The Wall Street Journal

Nokia Corp. said Thursday it has started shipping its much-anticipated N8 smartphone, having warned only last week that it would hold shipments to do some final amendments.

Preorder customers were due to receive the phone by the end of September, but will now have to wait until October. The mobile-phone company warned last week that deliveries would be pushed back a few weeks, without explaining what had gone wrong.

However, Nokia said Thursday that customers who have preordered the phone will be the first to receive it. Market availability will vary by country and operator, with broad availability in coming weeks, the company added.

Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, said it had decided to hold the N8 shipments for some time to make some final changes, spokeswoman Maija Taimi said. The Nokia N8 will reach most of the company's main markets over the next few weeks, she said, adding that its other new smartphones based on the upgraded Symbian 3 operating platform—the E7, C6 and C7—will start shipping before the end of the year.

"The Nokia N8 has received the highest amount of consumer preorders in Nokia history," Jo Harlow, senior vice president of smartphones, said in a written statement, adding that 100 wireless operators have been signed up to offer the phone.

Nokia hopes the N8, with a new version of Symbian software, will compete with rival high-end smartphones from Apple Inc. and those based on Google Inc.'s Android software, but the launch has been dogged by delays to the development of the Symbian 3 software used in the phone as well as last week's unexplained problems.

The N8 comes with a 12-megapixel camera and high-definition video capabilities.

The phone will be priced at €370, or about $500, in Europe, excluding taxes and subsidies.

Analyst Greger Johansson at Redeye said investors are relieved that the N8 will now be widely available to consumers ahead of the holiday season, when sales tend to be particularly high.

The N8 will sell at a relatively high price so it should be able to give Nokia's profit margins a boost, he added. Nokia's new smartphone doesn't match Apple's iPhone in terms of services and application availability, but it could still sell well in the wider smartphone market because it offers good hardware for its price, Mr. Johansson said.