Friday, December 7, 2007

Smartphone OS market share in 2007

I'm a big fan of Simon Judge's blog, Mobile Phone Development, and I read his article about Q3/2007 Smartphone Market Share with great interest. I agree with his findings, however, I would add my own thoughts to it, too.

I found it very interesting that most people might not noticed without paying careful attention to the details, that there are already more smartphones running Linux than Windows. It was surprising for me to see that as I've sort of had the impression so far that even though mobile Linux has its potentials, it still hasn't gained much market share as of yet. Well, I was wrong.

The next thing worth noting with regards to mobile Linux that almost a quarter of the whole report is about explaining why mobile Linux would be a bad alternative for manufacturers, operators, etc. Surprisingly, considering costs as well. That, of course, shows what Symbian really thinks about this threat.

As to Windows Mobile: I've also read a couple of reports, where analysts predicted that Microsoft would take over the lead role as mobile OS vendor from Symbian by 2010, but I also believe that it's unrealistic. Although I recall a question I was asked informally by someone in London, where I attended Forum Nokia Developer Day this October, that what I was thinking about the competition between Microsoft and Symbian. I asked back: is there any competition? This might sound as a joke and now I think that I was too self-confident: although Microsoft might not pose a big risk to Symbian as of yet, it's still a key player that's just getting stronger over time.

I've just read it at over IntoMobile that iPhone outsells e.g. Nokia N95 in Europe. Well, although it's a BIG warning sign, let's not forget about that Nokia

Finally, some notes on mobile OS market share in the US:
  • There are two vendors who have much bigger share here, than all around the world: Microsoft and Palm. Their cases are pretty much different, though: whilst Palm will potentially disappear from the (rest of the) market in the not-too-far future, Windows Mobile is predicted to gain bigger share from year to year.
  • However, it's not only these two players among whom the market is split. Or at least will be soon. Apple has just jumped in to this business with great initial success. Although selling pretty well in Q3/07 is something remarkable, they still need some time and stable growth to catch up.
  • Symbian fills a marginal role in this part of the world, but as we all know Nokia and Sony Ericsson are both working hard to change the situation. Nokia has, for example, just teamed up with Verizon (ehm, it was Verizon who joined Nokia, actually) for developing a fourth generation mobile broadband network. I believe a successful co-operation with a big American carrier is the first step for Nokia to gain a foothold in US. Sony Ericsson, on the other hand, has sold 50% of their share in UIQ (a company, but also the name of a Symbian variant) to Motorola. Even though Motorola is said to be fighting for survival, they're still a key player whose help might always come in handy.
  • Finally, what is not in the figures is OHA: although they're still nothing more than a promising alternative now, the first phones based on Android will appear during next year - I wonder if they will be able to make as a good start as Apple did.
Your thoughts are welcome - as always!