Nokia delays flagship N8 smartphone model again

HELSINKI Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:29pm EDT

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia, the world's top cellphone maker, said on Tuesday it had for the second time decided to delay the start of sales of its flagship N8 model.

"To ensure a great user experience, we have decided to hold the shipments for a few weeks to do some final amends," the company said in a statement, adding that the phones would reach consumers in October.

The N8 is seen by analysts as Nokia's first top-range model to challenge Apple's iPhone more than three years after its launch. Its success is seen as being crucial for Nokia's profit margins.

Nokia announced the delay only a few days after the September 15 closure of its showcase event of the year, the Nokia World.

"This is embarrassing," said John Strand, chief executive of Danish telecoms consultancy Strand Consult.

The N8 smartphone, first to use Nokia's new Symbian software, was originally scheduled to reach consumers in June.

In April, Nokia warned that the software renewal would take longer than it had expected due to quality problems and said that the N8 would reach consumers by the end of September.

The weak smartphone offering and problems with software were the main reasons for Nokia to replace its chief executive.

Stephen Elop, from Microsoft, will start his job as Nokia's chief executive later on Tuesday.

The N8 stands out among its rivals for its 12 megapixel camera but has a slower processor than Samsung's top model Galaxy S and the latest iPhone.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki)

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