Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest mobile handset company, on Monday launched a slew of smartphones to check its declining share in this growing segment of the market, where it faces stiff competition from Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-based devices.

The Finland-based company is still the market leader in the smartphones segment with a 41 per cent share, but is under pressure to hold on to the title.

It today launched its N8 model in the Asia-Pacific region to fend off its competitors. N8 is the first phone to be launched with Nokia’s improved Symbian 3 operating system. The phone will be available globally, including India, from September onward and is priced at 370 euros (Rs 21,019).

The industry sees the N8 as an attempt by Nokia to win back customers moving on to a host of phones from Taiwan’s HTC — whose phones are based on Android systems — Apple’s iPhone 4, and Blackberry. The N8 offers 8 of GB memory, faster access to social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter and high quality video recording.

“Nokia N8 is a great device for people who want to create content, connect to their preferred networking site,” Nokia Senior Vice President, Smartphones, Jo Harlow said.

The world’s largest mobile phone-maker is also trying to lure developers to write content and make applications for its devices. Better content and improved software are the major reasons for increasing sale of iPhones and Android devices, whereas Nokia seems to have lagged behind.

Nokia launched two other models today. One of them, the X6, has 8 GB of memory and is targeted at entertainment seekers with services like unlimited music downloads, social networking, chat and games. The other, the Nokia X5, has 2 GB of memory (expandable to 32 GB) and offers music and networking services.

These phones will also be available from September. The Nokia X6 is priced at 225 euros (Rs 12,790), while the X5 will cost 165 euros (Rs 9,370), exclusive of taxes and subsidy.

The company has also made a late entry into the dual SIM handset segment with the launch of its C2 and C1 models, which are priced in the range of 30 euros to 45 euros. Other mobile handset-makers in the Indian market had introduced dual SIM handsets, where two SIM cards can be used, a long time ago.

Nokia also introduced two low cost, low memory phones in the price range of 35-39 euros (Rs 1,998-Rs 2,215).

There is a plethora of smartphones from international companies like LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson flooding the Indian market. In addition, local companies like Videocon, Fly, Zen and many others are entering the growing segment. The resulting competition could bring down smartphone prices.