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Hands-on with Nokia C and E-series devices

At its annual Nokia World and Developer conference event, Nokia launched three new C-series devices and a new business-class E-series phone
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By Ben Woods on
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1 of 8 Ben Woods/ZDNet

Nokia on Tuesday introduced two new C-series devices — the C6 and C7 — alongside a new enterprise-class addition to the E-series line-up, the E7. The company also debuted the C3 Touch and Type, its second in the touchscreen-reworked range.

Nokia's Anssi Vanjoki, vice president of mobile solutions, introduced the E7 at Nokia World 2010 by paying homage to the device's forerunner, the N9000 Communicator, launched in 1996.

"We invented the smartphone," he said.

Moving his attention back to the present and the E7 (pictured), Vanjoki continued: "It's big, but it's beautiful and all business... It's a premium-class business device to help you manage your world on the run".

The C6 and C7 were also introduced at the event, both of which include a 720p-video capable, 8-megapixel camera. Nokia executives also touted the social networking focus of the two new C-series smartphone additions.

The third C-series device — introduced on Wednesday — is the C3 Touch and Type, a consumer-focused feature phone running on the S40 operating system and a sister-device to the X3 Touch and Type.

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The E7 comes with a 4-inch, 640-by-360-pixel AMOLED Clear Black Display, which the company claims delivers a more vibrant, brighter image than other technologies.

The C6, C7 and E7 all run the touch-optimised Symbian S^3 operating system — as does the previously-announced N8, which is now available to pre-order.

Symbian's S^3 OS supports multi-touch — pinch-and-zoom, for example — across several applications, including the photo album and web browser.

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The E7 uses a tweaked media player with a Cover Flow-like album and artist display that showed no signs of lag when scrolling through long lists of music.

It also takes the slide-and-tilt Qwerty keyboard approach that Nokia has used in the past on devices such as the N900.

A company spokesperson told ZDNet UK that shipping handsets globally requires Nokia to meet localisation challenges, such as shipping the E7 in 25 different keyboard configurations.

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The C7 (pictured) has three home screens by default, indicated by the three dots at the bottom of the display, in the middle.

Both the C6 and C7 put social networking at the heart of the devices' services, allowing you to update status messages across a range of social-networking sites simultaneously.

The central hardware button takes you to the main menu, although a Nokia spokesperson said that the user interface is partly designed so that you don't need to trawl through menus.

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The Ovi store has also been updated with user-friendly additions such as showing the percentage of downloading files and allowing the user to continue browsing the store while the downloads complete. Downloaded apps can then be launched directly from within the store, much like the Android Market experience.

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The C7 includes a number of dedicated hardware buttons on the outside of the chassis. Shown here are volume up/down, a mute key, the screen lock and a shutter button that doubles up as a media playback key.

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7 of 8 Ben Woods/ZDNet

The C6 (pictured) delivers many of the same features as the C7, but fits them in a smaller package. The result is a slightly lower-specified device with a 3.2-inch touchscreen. It does have Nokia's new AMOLED Clear Black Display on-board, like the E7. Both the C6 and C7 are scheduled to ship "later this year", according to the company.

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The mobile giant also introduced a new consumer-focused device, the C3 Touch and Type, which will cost around €145 (£121) and is due to ship in the fourth quarter of this year.

The C3 Touch and Type comes in a stainless steel chassis and has a 5-megapixel camera, offering 3G/HSDPA, Wi-Fi connectivity and microSD support up to 32GB.

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