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9/14/2010
10:27 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Nokia Targets Apple, Google With Symbian^3 Smartphones

Nokia on Tuesday introduced three new smartphones running the Symbian^3 platform. The E7, C7 and C6-01 all have AMOLED displays, 8-megapixel cameras, and Bluetooth 3.0.

Nokia E7
(click image for larger view)
Nokia E7
Nokia World, which is taking place in London, is typically the Finnish company's stage for major product announcements and it didn't disappoint. It debuted three new smartphones with impressive specs and decent looks. Will they be enough to staunch the flow of defectors headed for the likes of the iPhone and Android? Let's take a look.

All three devices share a number of features. They will each work on 2G/3G networks around the world, and offer other radios including 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and FM. They all also share an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, autofocus, and 720p HD video capture. The E7, C7 and C6-01 each has an AMOLED display, with 640 x 360 pixels, which is the same resolution as the previously announced N8.

Nokia points out that all three devices have access to the heavily revised version of the Ovi Store, which is where Symbian devices can access applications, games, and other content. They can all also run Nokia's Ovi Maps product, which offers free turn-by-turn navigation for both driving and pedestrian directions.

The lynchpin affecting the success of these devices isn't so much the hardware as it is the software on which they run. They all three use the newest version of Symbian^3. Symbian^3 offers clear improvements over S60 5th Edition / Symbian^1, but it still lags the iPhone and Android platforms in usability and features.

I haven't had a chance to use these phones yet, but based on early reports coming from London, the user interfaces are no match for Apple and Google's grip on touch-based interactions.

Nokia E7:

Nokia hasn't introduced a "Communicator" series device since the E91 back in 2007. Nokia is calling the E7 its next-generation of Communicator business smartphones, and based on the spec sheet, that's a fair descriptor. The Nokia E7 boasts an aluminum unibody construction for strength and durability. Its screen measures 4-inches, and uses what Nokia calls "ClearBack" technology for improved outdoor visibility.

The E7 is a slider device, with both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. Other hardware features include microSD card support, USB 2.0 connector, 3.5mm headset jack, and an HDMI out port for sharing HD video content.

The E7 is chock full of business features, and Nokia says it has Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync on board, in addition to tons of enterprise software, such as Microsoft Office, and security software. It will cost about $640.

Nokia C7:

The C7 is a slightly simpler touch phone, and has a 3.5-inch touch display and a thinner profile than the E7. It has 8GB of storage built-in and has both an FM radio receiver and transmitter for broadcasting music to nearby radios. It will cost about $430.

Nokia C6-01:

This is the smallest device of the three announced. It has a 3.2-inch touch display and Nokia's ClearBack technology to improve the screen's outdoor performance. Nokia used steel and glass in the design of this phone and give it a small footprint for easier portability. It will cost about $335.

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