Monday, March 12, 2007

Smartphone OS market share in 2006

An article on smartphone OS market share by region (between 2004 and 2006) made me think. Since I'm an analytical mind and also interested in this topic I've automatically started to compare the two figures. And as the author of the aforementioned article has left the analysis part to us (or was he just too lazy?:), I've taken the effort to draw some conclusions from the figures.

So, let's take the regions one by one as shown on the figures!
- European, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA): Symbian still rules smartphone OS market here.
- In Japan almost the whole market was ruled by Symbian in 2004. This has significantly changed by 2006 since Linux has appeared on the horizon with its ~40%! I bet Symbian is not too happy about it, even if they have shipped lots of new phones in Japan recently.
- China: first, let's start with that Microsoft was present on the market in 2004. In contrast, their market share has dramatically shrunk almost to non-existent by 2006. Second, Linux is yet again an important factor that analysts and more importantly phone manufacturers must take into account in 2006. Its roughly 40% market share is very considerable. Third, the strange thing is that Symbian's market share has remained intact during these two years - it's still around 60%.
- North-America: one of the strangest markets - at least from our analysis' point of view! In 2004, Palm phones were dominating the smartphone market (~50%). Their market share, though, has dramatically shrunk to less than half of their previous share (now ~20%). The same pattern can be observed with regards to the popularity of Symbian OS - but with different numbers. In 2004, Symbian was the second smartphone OS vendor dominating 30% of the market - in contrast they're now the fourth with their ~10%! Who won then? Surprise-surprise: Microsoft! They were the third most popular OS vendor in 2004 (~10%) and now they're the #1 with ~30%! The last observation is that RIM has pretty much gained position - they're the second now.
- Finally, the rest of the world (ROW): well, similarly to EMEA market Symbian phones are in monopoly.

As a brief summary my findings are as follows. Symbian's hegemony is noticable all around the world. In most places more than half of the smartphone OS market is in their hand(held)s. :) With one exception, though: North-America. There are couple of interesting articles (on SymbianGuru, Darla Mack's and Tommi's blogs) as to why Symbian, most notably S60 phones are not present in North-America so it wasn't surprising for me to see the trend. It came as no surprise, either, that Microsoft is just there in North-America - what I found interesting, though, that basically this is the only market where they are taken into account at all. Finally, it's already a cliche that Linux phones are coming. LiMo, MontaVista's Mobilinux and TrollTech are just a few keywords everybody blessed with a little foresight might want to memorize. Japan and China are two countries where experiments are being made with mobile linux - and their success seems to be tangible. But let's not continue the debate on which mobile platform is the best and more importantly who will win in the long run. On the one hand, that's impossible to predict, on the other hand it's worth another article. :)

Anything to add?

Migrated from Forum Nokia Blogs.


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