Business News, , , , , , , , , , , — May 22, 2011 20:45 — 1 Comment

Android vaults to smartphone lead as Nokia faces ‘ugly’ future

smartphone

Although the Nokia N8 phone has been popular with smart moviemakers, things are not looking good for the Finnish mobile company — as for the Windows phone, we have still to see a video produced on it


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Android vaults to smartphone lead as Nokia faces ‘ugly’ future” was written by Charles Arthur, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th May 2011 12.59 UTC

New figures for the mobile phone business show encouraging news for Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone but reinforce the bad news for Nokia and its new mobile OS partner Microsoft.

Nokia in particular faces a period in which “things are going to get much uglier before they get better”, one analyst warned.

New data from the research company Gartner shows that Google’s Android mobile operating system has conquered the smartphone market, vaulting over Nokia’s outgoing Symbian OS to capture 25.1% of the worldwide high-end market in the first quarter of 2011 with a sevenfold growth over last year.

The figures show that the smartphone market that grew by 84.9% in volume compared to the first three months of 2010, but that only Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android grew sales more quickly than the market, which increased to 100.8m devices. Apple doubled the number of iPhones sold to end users, to 16.9m, says Gartner.

Smartphones made up 23.6% of the total 427.8m mobile phones shipped in the quarter, up from 15.1% at the same time last year. While Nokia still dominates in the “feature phone” space, both its number of units and market share fell to their lowest level since 1997.

Smartphone mobile OS share 1Q 2007-1Q 2011. Source: Gartner.

But the data contain bad news for Nokia and for Microsoft, which saw their shares dwindle substantially. The Symbian smartphone OS, used on devices from Nokia and by Sony Ericsson, collapsed from a dominant 44% share a year ago to second-placed 27% in the first three months of the year. Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop announced in February that the company will be phasing out Symbian smartphones over the next 18 months or so.

Elop said then that Nokia’s new smartphone OS supplier will be Microsoft, with its Windows Phone offering – but that made a poor showing as well in its second quarter on sale. Since the launch of Windows Phone 7 from a number of different manufacturers, Microsoft has declined to give figures for the number of users, saying only that 2m have been “shipped”. That however only shows how many have gone to carriers and retailers, not how many are being used.

Now Gartner calculates that only 1.6m Windows Phone devices were sold to end users in the first quarter, commenting that “devices launched at the end of 2010 failed to grow in consumer preference”.

In fact Gartner’s numbers suggest that Microsoft’s previous mobile OS, Windows Mobile, sold more devices -2m – than Windows Phone, on which Microsoft is staking its mobile future.

Carolina Milanesi, Gartner’s vice-president for research in mobiles, said that even when Nokia releases its first Windows Phone device – expected in autumn this year – it would be wrong to expect it to be a world-beater. “It’s going to be a proof-of-concept about where they’re going to take the platorm to in 2012,” she said. “But if people are expecting that the very first Nokia Windows Phone will be their entire response to the iPhone, that’s unrealistic.”

Nokia’s strength will come from its ability to tailor its offerings to local markets, she suggested. But “things are going to get much uglier before they get better. People shouldn’t get too excited about that first device.” She suggested that Nokia will probably avoid the US initially because that is a “dangerous” market for it where it needs to make a good impression. The Finnish company’s market share in the US has dwindled to low single figures.

The company has already said that it will cut its workforce by 4,000 and shift another 3,000 to Accenture to work on Symbian.

Roberta Cozza, smartphone analyst for Gartner, said that Android looks certain to lead in market share at least until 2015.

Smartphone share, 1Q 2011
Company unit growth % 1Q10 market share (%) 1Q10 units 1Q 11 market share (%) 1Q11 units
Android 36,267.80 36 5,226.60 9.6 593.9
Symbian 27,598.50 27.4 24,067.70 44.2 14.7
iOS 16,883.20 16.8 8,359.70 15.3 102
Research In Motion 13,004.00 12.9 10,752.50 19.7 20.9
Microsoft 3,658.70 3.6 3,696.20 6.8 -1
Other OS 3,357.20 3.3 2,402.90 4.4 39.7
Total 100,769.30 100 54,505.50 100 84.9

source: Gartner

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

  • Sandrey

    [Nokia] “…both its number of units and market share fell to their lowest level since 1997.”

    This cannot be true, because in 1998 Nokia sold “only” 38 million devices and had 22.5% market share: http://www.wirelessnetworksonline.com/article.mvc/Mobile-Phone-Sales-Increased-65-in-1999-0002

    Gartner has increased the others category from 29% to 36.2% in a year (they make an estimation how many pirated and no-name phones are sold in China and India like countries) for getting Nokia market share to “drop.” Actually Nokia sold almost as much phones as a year earlier and the following companies lost also market share due to this trick.

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