Nokia N8 photoNokia announced today that it’s begun shipping its N8 smartphone to retail stores and customers who have pre-ordered the device.

The news follows an announcement from the company last week that it had to delay shipments of the N8 to take care of a software issue. Nokia initially planned to ship the devices in late September, so with the news today it has technically lived up to its promise.

Nokia first announced its Facebook-friendly N8 camera in April. At the time, it was notable for its powerful 12-megapixel camera, 720p high-definition video recording capabilities, as well as the fact that it was running Nokia’s new Symbian^3 operating system. Since then, the iPhone 4, and high-end Android phones like the Evo 4G and Droid X, have been released — making Nokia’s new high-end darling less appealing for anything but hardcore Nokia fans.

As I’ve written previously, the N8 will be Nokia’s flagship device until its more ambitious Meego platform — a joint open-source operating system developed in conjunction with Intel — launches, starting with its N9 phone. But it’s going to be some time before Meego devices are released. For now, Nokia’s Symbian^3 devices — which also include the E7, C6, and C7 phones — are the closest the company comes to competing with iPhone/Android phones.

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