Nokia (NYSE:NOK) took the wraps off three new smartphones, and touted its latest flagship product the N8, at its annual Nokia World event, just days after changes in the top echelons of the company's management.
At the handset maker's event, executives went out of their way to stress confidence in the company's smartphone strategy and services, even under the cloud of a major management shakeup. Last week, Nokia replaced CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Microsoft executive Stephen Elop, and Anssi Vanjoki, the head of Nokia's smartphone unit, announced his resignation Monday.
And, in a surprise announcement, Nokia said Chairman Jorma Ollila will step down in 2012. Ollila is credited with turning Nokia into the world's largest handset maker, but his departure could signal that larger changes could be coming to the company.
Nonetheless, the company sought to project an upbeat attitude in the face of its challenges. Nokia released the E7, a 4-inch touchscreen business phone with a full keyboard running on its Symbian^3 platform. Nokia also announced the C6 and C7, candybar-style Symbian^3 phones focused on social networking. However, Nokia lavished much attention on the N8.
The previously announced N8 has 3.5-inch screen, 12-megapixel camera and features an updated version of Nokia's Ovi Store. The company said it has received more pre-orders for the N8 than any other product in its history, and Vanjoki said it has been adopted by more than 100 operators worldwide. (No U.S. operator has said it will sell the phone.)
At its event, Nokia was bullish about its prospects, even while acknowledging its challenges. The company continues to lead in smartphones thanks to Symbian's global reach, but analysts point out that other smartphone operating systems, including Google's Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, are cutting into Symbian's share.
"We're not going to apologize for the fact that we're not Apple or Google or anybody else--we're Nokia and we're unique," Niklas Savander, Nokia's Markets chief, said at the event. "Nokia's going through a tough, challenging transition, and we have a lot more work to do. But we have laid the foundation for success."
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