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Nokia E7 Symbian 3 Qwerty phone marked for December launch

The Nokia E7, a fine-looking Symbian 3 smart phone sporting a Qwerty keyboard, looks like it'll reach the high street before the Christmas rush.

Nokia's E7, the email-friendly Qwerty phone first seen at the Nokia World show earlier this year, will hit stores in December.

Nokia revealed this via its Twitter account, with exact availability varying by country. We previously reported it would be January before the smart phone got here, but happily it should hit high streets across the UK before Christmas.

The E7 has impressed us with its sturdy looks and pretty AMOLED screen, which Nokia promises will be usable outdoors. It'll have an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, as well as 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Overall it's a fine-looking smart phone, reminding us of the Nokia Communicator series of phones that came out more than ten years ago.

But it's going to run Symbian. Back when we first saw the phone we had hopes that Symbian 3 might do a better job, but the N8 has deflated our expectations. We're confident the Nokia hardware will be tiptop -- for a long time now it's the software we've taken issue with.

We've already debated the N8 to death, but our opinion still holds -- the hardware is great, but Symbian isn't punching its weight against Android and the iPhone. The E7 has a smart, compact look to it, however, and with potentially less reliance on its touchscreen than the N8, the inadequacies of the software could well be less of a problem. We'll only really know with a full review, however.

Is the E7 showing Nokia doing what it does best? Have you been holding off buying an N8 for this? Do you think it'll persuade some Christmas shoppers to go Nokia? Hit us with your opinions.