Canalys: Android handsets outsold Symbian handsets during Q4 2010 [The sky is falling]

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Nokia’s Symbian platform, which has dominated the smartphone scene for as long as any of us can remember, has finally, for the first time in history, been outsold on a global basis by a competing operating system. Windows Phone 7 really is that good. All kidding aside, this is obviously the work of Android, Google’s free operating system that’s been adopted by nearly everyone who makes anything that runs on a battery. Samsung and their powerful Galaxy S lineup of devices, the countless innovative handsets out of HTC, and now LG and Motorla, brining the first dual core mobile phones out to market, both packing Android. The bean counters at Canalys have figured that in Q4 2010 there were 101.2 million smartphones sold. Of those 32.9 million ran Android versus 31 million running Symbian. It gets worse. They say that in Q4 2009 Nokia had 44.4% of the smartphone space to themselves. That figure is now down to 30.6% for the same period one year later.

What’s Nokia to do? On February 11th the company is going to hold an event in London to outline their strategy going forward. During Nokia’s Q4 2010 financial results conference call Stephen Elop, the new CEO, used some vague language when discussing ecosystems and it has many analysts thinking that he’s finally had enough with both Symbian and MeeGo and is considering supporting Android. While we don’t think that’s going to be the case, you can never really know what Elop is going to do since he has absolutely no ties to Nokia whatsoever, and he has repeatedly said that he wants to crack the North American market. Then again his predecessor said the same thing … and failed to deliver during his 4 year reign of terror in Espoo.

What do you think Elop is going to announce in two weeks? He’s got to do something “magical”, to steal the word from Jobs.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Another one of Nokia’s foundation blocks crumbling. Reporting the slow death knell of all associated with Nokia is sad.

  • ralphMerchant

    I can’t argue with those who believe that Symbian has what it takes to compete against the likes of the iOS or android, because that depends entirely upon user opinion. However I CAN say with fair accuracy that Nokia is losing a bunch of marketshare to the competition. IMAO sales figure is the only immediate indicator of a product’s success and one of the major indicators of a product’s relevance and quality. Putting it really simply and bluntly, sales and profit are the only things that matter (at least in the short term). Since both Nokia’s sales figure for symbian devices and profits are on a downward trend, the only conclusion I can come to is that Nokia and symbian are indeed less successful and less relevent than the competition. Themuch touted features of the likes of the n8 matter surprisingly little, because by no means did they neither guaranteed acceptance by the large portion of consumers nor the continuation of nokia’s competitiveness as a cell phone manufacturer. What really matters for nokia as a company is making products that are not only high quality but also cater to as well as predict the fickle needs of the majority of the consumers. Nokia could continue to exclusively cater to a dedicated customer base, of course, but it can’t do so without adversely affecting profit. Nokia obviously realizes the disadvantages and shortcomings of the symbian plateform and is therefore attempting to reverse its fortune with meego. It’s the right step, but then again, it might be too little too late.

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