Nokia N8: Exact release date still up in the air

Nokia N8 is set for a late September launch, Nokia said recently. But don't be surprised if you don't get your N8 handset until October.

Nokia N8 is being billed by Nokia as a competitor to the Apple iPhone 4.

Earlier this week, Nokia announced that it still needed to tinker around with the N8 smartphone – and cautioned consumers that they would have to wait until October to get their hands on an N8 handset. "To ensure a great user experience, we have decided to hold the shipments for a few weeks to do some final amends," Nokia wrote in an emailed statement to the Wall Street Journal.

Today, after receiving a deluge of confused queries, Nokia reps took to the Web to clear things up. “There have been [some stories] about the N8 availability which we feel need clarification,” reads an item posted to the Nokia company blog. "As we have previously said, we still expect to start the shipments by the end of the third quarter. As with every global launch, when the device reaches the hand of the customer will vary by market and operator."

The post continues:

We have received a record number of online pre-orders for the Nokia N8. We had targeted our online pre-order customers to receive their N8s by the end of September. As it can take time from the beginning of shipment to arriving at their doorstep, in full transparency, we have advised our pre-order customers that they should expect their new Nokia N8 in October.

So in other words, Nokia is still aiming for September, but you shouldn't be surprised if you don't get your hands on an N8 before October.

Nokia first released details on the N8 – pictured above – way back in April. The N8 is expected to be the new flagship handset for Nokia, and the company certainly hasn't stinted on the functionalities. The phone will reportedly ship with a 12-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, capable of shooting HD video, and a second video camera for video calling. Nokia has also touted a customizable homescreen, app multitasking, and a next-gen processor.

But as Daniel Ionescu of PC World pointed out this spring, there is at least one very good reason to be skeptical about the prowess of the N8. "Nokia's real gamble," Ionescu writes, "is not with the N8 hardware, but with the operating system delivered on the device. The Symbian OS has been widely criticized for being sluggish, and lagging behind competitors like the iPhone or Google's Android OS."

Symbian remains the dominant mobile operating system on the global market. But there are signs the Nokia OS is slipping.

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