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Nokia, the Finnish cellphone maker, said on Tuesday that it will delay the rollout of the E7 smartphone to early 2011, missing the holiday shopping season.

Originally, the enterprise user-oriented smartphone was meant to be out in December. According to Nokia, the company is pushing back the release of the phone to ensure “the best possible user experience on the E7”.

Nokia’s previous high-end smartphone, the N8, was also slightly delayed, and when released, the reception was less than excited, to say the least. The E7’s big claim to fame is its sliding mechanism and hardware keyboard, otherwise it’s basically the same as the N8. The N8 and E7 models are seen as flagships of the latest version of the Nokia-developed Symbian OS, which is struggling to stay relevant in a time when Google-owned Android OS and Apple’s iOS are gaining ground quickly in the smartphone OS market.  (According to a recent Gartner report, Android will become the second-largest smartphone OS this year and possibly take over Symbian in 2014.)

While the delayed releases of both models attest to the fact that 2010 has not been a high point for Symbian, Nokia is planning multiple upgrades to the OS in the next 12 to 15 months. According to a ComputerWorld report, Nokia will come out with four or five upgrades, honing the operating system with frequent improvements instead of major upgrades that are a long time apart.

It remains to be seen if Nokia’s efforts are enough to regain lost territory in the smartphone OS market with Symbian, which is largely seen as a clunky operating system that is dragging the company down. Then again, the company is not betting all its money on the same horse, as it is launching its new MeeGo operating system sometime next year, which, if we are to believe the company’s SVP of Design, Marko Ahtisaari, will be something “amazing”. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for it, either.

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