Nokia Extends Symbian Line With Update, Two New Smartphones

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, introduced an updated version of its Symbian smartphone software and two new smartphones that will run it.

The E6 business phone, priced at about 340 euros ($492) before taxes and subsidies, combines a hard Qwerty keyboard and a touchscreen, the Finland-based company said. The X7 entertainment and gaming phone, with a base price of 380 euros from Nokia, will be offered by Three UK, the carrier said on its website today.

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop said Feb. 11 that Nokia will shift to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 7 as its main smartphone operating system over the next two years, phasing out Symbian. The version announced today, nicknamed Symbian Anna, includes features promised last year, such as a portrait-mode Qwerty keyboard and split-screen input. It will also be available for download to existing units of Nokia’s latest smartphones “in the coming months,” the company said.

“The new software shows the importance of Symbian in the transition to Windows Phone 7 and represents a crucial step in the effort to close the gap with rivals,” Ben Wood, a London- based analyst with CCS Insight, said in a text message. “The X7 is unremarkable given current competitors. The E6 is an attractive device that joins the growing list of BlackBerry rivals, which should worry Research In Motion.”

Both handsets will start shipping in the second quarter, Nokia said on its website, adding that the E6 will be available in third quarter in North America.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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