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A class of computationally efficient linear precoders for space-time block coded multiple-input multiple-output wireless systems is derived based on the minimization of the exact symbol error rate (SER) and its upper bound. Both correlations at the transmitter and receiver are assumed to be present, and only statistical channel state information in the form of the transmit and receive correlation matrices is assumed to be available at the transmitter. The convexity of the design based on SER minimization is established and exploited. The advantage of the developed technique is its low complexity. We also find various relationships of the proposed designs to the existing precoding techniques, and derive very simple closed-form precoders for special cases such as two or three receive antennas and constant receive correlation. The numerical simulations illustrate the excellent SER performance of the proposed precoders.