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Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Nokia releases new Symbian phones, touts Symbian apps

Nokia launched new Symbian smartphones that appear to be the platform's last gasp before shifting to Windows Phone 7, while also describing developer opportunities related to its mothballed platform in its Ovi Store.

Nokia launches more Symbian models

Meanwhile, Nokia has unveiled two new Symbian models, after announcing earlier this year that Symbian had no future, given the company's new plans to partner with Microsoft to develop Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The business-oriented E6 and consumer X7 are scheduled to launch in the second quarter.

Despite previously outlining a future built around Microsoft's WP7, Jo Harlow, the head of Nokia’s Smart Devices business, said “With these new products and more Symbian devices and user enhancements coming in the near future, we are confident we can keep existing Nokia smartphone customers engaged, as well as attract new first-time and competitor smartphone users.”

The new phones incorporate the Symbian Anna update, which Nokia plans to also roll out for its existing Nokia N8, E7, C7 and C6-01 models over "the coming months."

The company said "this update offers a host of usability enhancements, including fresh, new icons, improved text input, a faster internet browsing experience and a refreshed Ovi Maps application with improved search and new public transport routes," and added that "Symbian Anna greatly enhances the user experience on Nokia smartphones and makes the Qt business opportunity with Nokia even greater [for developers]."



Mobile market leader takes on iTunes

The company also touted in a separate press release new growth in its Ovi Store, describing an "approximate 200-million-strong Symbian consumer base has seen the Ovi Store catalogue grow to more than 40,000 apps, with about 1,000 added per week."

Given the size of the Symbian installed base and Nokia's still very large market share of all mobile phones, it's surprising that the platform hasn't even caught up to the 65,000 titles available for the iPad, let alone the 350,000 apps for iPhone.

And now, a warning

Nokia ended its press release with an unusually long notice that points out its "intention to form a strategic partnership with Microsoft to combine complementary assets and expertise to form a global mobile ecosystem and to adopt Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform," and notes a string of 37 "risks and uncertainties."

These include "our ability to succeed in creating a competitive smartphone platform for high-quality differentiated winning smartphones or in creating new sources of revenue through the proposed partnership with Microsoft," "our ability to maintain the viability of our current Symbian smartphone platform during the transition to Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform," "our ability to build a competitive and profitable global ecosystem of sufficient scale, attractiveness and value to all participants and to bring winning smartphones to the market in a timely manner, "our ability to implement our strategies, particularly our new mobile product strategy," "unfavorable outcome of litigations," and two dozen other issues.