Nokia begins shipping flagship N8 phone

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) started shipping its N8 smartphone, which it hopes will catapult it back into prominence in the smartphone market. The release of the phone comes a little more than a week after conflicting reports about when the device would be available.

Nokia N8 UsaNokia had said the device would ship by the end of the third quarter, and last week issued a statement saying that pre-order customers were supposed to get the device by the end of September, but that it was holding the phone back to make some final, unnamed changes. Later, Nokia said that it "targeted our online pre-order customers to receive their N8s by the end of September. As it can take time from the beginning of shipment to arriving at their doorstep, in full transparency, we have advised our pre-order customers that they should expect their new Nokia N8 in October."

The company said customers who pre-ordered the device will get it first, and that wider market availability will depend on the country and the operator. Nokia said it received a record number of pre-orders for the N8, and 100 operators around the globe are adopting the device. The N8's release comes shortly after Stephen Elop took the reins as CEO from Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who analysts and investors criticized as moving too slowly to develop new smartphones.

The N8 runs on the Symbian^3 platform, which allows for multitasking, and has a 12-megapixel camera and 3.5-inch AMOLED display. The N8 will serve as Nokia's high-end device until the company releases a device based on its new MeeGo operating system later this year.

However, the N8 is not being touted by any U.S. carriers. According to Nokia's U.S. online store, the device will not be available until late October, and will sell for $550 unlocked. Interestingly, though, the gadget has been featured in marketing materials for an upcoming Nokia developer's conference co-hosted by AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T).

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Nokia site

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