Nokia E7 Smartphone with Symbian 3 Delayed Until Early 2011

Nokia has decided to delay shipment of its Symbian 3-running E7 smartphone until early 2011, offering little explanation but hinting that adjustments are still being made.

Nokia is postponing shipment of its E7 smartphone, Reuters first reported Dec. 14.

Similar to the Nokia flagship E8, but with a physical slideout keypad, the E7 is one of the handful of new devices that Nokia introduced at the Nokia World 2010 conference in London in September, along with the C7 and C6.

"To ensure the best possible user experience on the E7 we have decided to begin shipping in early 2011," Nokia spokesperson Joseph Gallo told eWEEK. "Naturally, the exact timing of when the device is available in shops will vary from market to market."

Nokia's new smartphones are part of an effort by the device maker to more effectively compete at the highest end of the market against the likes of the Apple iPhone and Android-running devices such as the Motorola Droid 2, the Samsung Epic 4G and the HTC Droid Incredible. Despite being the global phone market share leader, Nokia has slowly been shedding market share points to its competitors.

"Yes, Nokia is going through a tough, challenging transition," Nokia Executive Vice President of Markets Niklas Savander admitted during a Nokia World keynote address, adding, "Today we shift into high gear in Nokia's fight back in smartphone leadership."

To view images of the E7, click here.

At the event, Nokia described the E7 as the ultimate business smartphone. It features a 4-inch touch screen with Nokia ClearBlack technology, for improved outdoor visibility, which it pairs with that QWERTY keypad. Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync is on board, along with enterprise-class security features, Flash Lite 4.0, an Adobe PDF reader and Quickoffice dynamic premium, which enables users to review and edit documents such as spreadsheets. There's also access to the Ovi Store and free Ovi Maps for walking and driving directions, a camera, 16GB of internal memory and automatic switching between WCDMA and GSM network bands.

Like the N8, the N7 runs the Symbian 3 operating system. In a Nov. 8 statement expressing Nokia's support for the less-than-popular OS, Jo Harlow, Nokia's senior vice president of smartphones, said the expected shipping date for the N7 was "before the end of 2010." (She also added that Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian 3-based devices.)

Delaying shipment of the device appears a prudent move, particularly since the N8, soon after shipping, was reported to be experiencing problems with booting up. In a video posted to the Nokia Blog Nov. 18, Savander acknowledged the issue and said that Nokia had "taken immediate action across the product line," despite only a small number of handsets actually being affected by the problem, which was caused during assembly.

"Any dissatisfaction of an individual consumer with a Nokia product is always a source of concern," Savander added.

During the third quarter, Nokia shipped 26.5 million phones for an annual year-on-year growth rate of 61.6 percent. Still, IDC reported Nov. 4, with Nokia's competitors gaining momentum, its market share dipped to 32.7 percent, from 38.3 percent the year before, according to IDC.

According to Gallo, Nokia is "very pleased by the response to the N8, as well as C7 and C6, which are shipping."