The chairman of Nokia said its management had the board's full support as it moves the world's top cellphone maker away from hardware and toward offering services.

We support management in this, Jorma Ollila said in a speech to shareholders on Thursday.

Nokia has started to build a new business by offering Internet services ranging from music downloads to e-mail, but these have gained little traction so far.

We still have plenty of work to do, but we have built a solid foundation. We believe in our strategy, chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said.

Management has been under increasing criticism from analysts and shareholders as Nokia's share price has missed the market's recovery. The company will be one of the few to miss profit growth in 2010, the year of economic recovery, and software problems continue to haunt its smartphones.

Last month, Nokia delayed the rollout of phones using Symbian 3, its software platform revamp seen as a first step to making its smartphones competitive again, triggering a sell-off in its shares.

Kallasvuo said Nokia expected its new generation of devices to significantly close the gap with the competition in high-end smartphones.

Nokia has not been able to make a serious challenge to Apple's iPhone in the three years since it was introduced. Its last hit smartphone model, the N95, was unveiled in 2006, the year Kallasvuo, a long-time company lawyer, took over at the helm of the Finnish company.

Nokia shares were down 0.5 percent at 1305 GMT. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Dan Lalor)