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Nokia E7 does the Symbian 3 business

Nokia World in London sees the debut of the Nokia E7, a phone squarely aimed at the business world that doesn't win any prizes for originality, but it does run on new Symbian 3.

If you're craving Nokia's shiny new N8 but work means you can't live without a Qwerty keyboard, the Nokia E7 is the business-focused new smart phone trying to leverage your harmonistic synergies.

The phone is being shown off today at the Nokia World show, along with the N8, C7 and C6, as we reported last week. The phone has already been leaked, but it had been confused with a potential MeeGo-running N9 we're expecting later in the year.

The E7 is running Nokia's new Symbian 3 OS, has a Qwerty keyboard and a 4-inch tilting AMOLED touchscreen display, featuring something called 'ClearBlack technology', which is supposed to improve outdoor visibility. It also packs 16GB of memory, a dual LED 8-megapixel camera.

Nokia describes the E7 as the "perfect shape and size to work on documents, review spreadsheets, or read and edit slides", which sounds awfully exciting to us. Corporate mail support, pre-installed productivity apps and an array of security controls are all twanging our business bow too.

Its styling, while reminiscent of the much-loved Nokia Communicator series, first released in 1996, differs slightly in that it has a tilting touchscreen that slides out, rather than open up like a clamshell. We reviewed the last of the Communicator breed, the E90, back in 2007.

Like RIM, with its release of a new Curve and soon enough a new Bold, Nokia has returned to a tried and trusted design which sold well in the past. It will hope the business world sees the E7 as an efficient and usable alternative to a BlackBerry.

There doesn't seem to be anything radical here apart from the Symbian 3 upgrade, which is what the success of the E7 will be dependent on. We'll have a full hands-on preview for you very soon, where we'll test whether support for multiple home screens, visual multitasking and gesture-based interactions actually work.

We fully expect the E7 will be a well-built phone that performs its workaday functions admirably, but there's nothing here that says 'wow' unless Symbian 3 really does change the game. Nokia expects the E7 to be in shops by the end of the year, priced at €495 (£410) unlocked. Your comments, as always, are most welcome.