Nokia (NOK) will delay the launch of its flagship N8 smartphone, again. "To ensure a great user experience, we have decided to hold the shipments for a few weeks to do some final amends," the company announced late Monday. The term "amends" carries some irony with it because Nokia's carrier partners and investors have been waiting for the company to right its course for some time.
In an additional turn of irony, the Chief Technology Officer of Nokia Rich Green told Bloomberg, "I want to be very focused on working with the people who are building the product. They should be in the game, playing, and not on the sidelines with a clean jersey telling people what to do." It is hard to see how the N8 delay demonstrates that Green's philosophy has been followed recently.
The N8 will be a high-end smartphone with multimedia capability that includes over 250 new features, among them HD video playback on a compatible wide-screen TV, that allow users to organize "your life online across three home screens. Multitask easily with the new visual task manager and switch between open apps with a single tap. All of this and more without sacrificing battery life," according to the company.
The handset is powered by the Symbian 3 operating system. Symbian has lost a great deal of ground to Apple's (AAPL) OS, Google (GOOG) Android, and the operating system created for the Research In Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry.
The market has bet heavily against the success of the N8 and the company's other smartphone initiatives, at least based on Nokia's stock price, which has fallen 20% this year. The company just appointed Microsoft (MSFT) executive Stephen Elop as its new CEO. He may be able to keep Nokia's lead in the global handset market, but that share may be based on its skill in making and selling basic handsets and not in the smartphone end of the business, where it covets significant success.