Most of the numbers are now in for Q4, 2011 and, while some are estimates, we now have a pretty good idea of the state of the mobile industry for the last quarter. Phones grew 6% year on year, smartphones by a whopping 63%, with the latter now at 36% of the overall market. The top three companies were the same by either metric - Apple, Samsung and Nokia are way ahead of the rest.
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The news that Nokia just handed over its one and a half billionth Series 40 phone was interesting - and impressive - and got me thinking and fact-checking. Just how many Symbian-powered smartphones have been sold, in total, i.e. in the last decade? Turns out it's now well over 500 million, i.e. over half a billion Symbian smartphones have already been sold and are... out there in the world somewhere. Some thoughts below.
Nokia has released its Q4 2011 results, reporting an operating loss of €954 million, with net sales of €10.0 billion (down 21% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's profits were €203 million. Margins in devices and services were 3.4% (down from 12.7 % on Q4 2010 and up from 3.1% in Q3 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 19.6 million, compared with 28.6 million units in Q4 2010 (down 31% YoY) and 16.8 million units in Q3 2011 (up 17%, QoQ).
Sisvel International, a specialist company in managing intellectual property and maximizing the value of patent rights, has bought more than 450 patents originally filed by Nokia. 350 of these cover essential parts of the 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) and 4G (LTE) technologies. The other 100 or so cover video encoding optimization technologies. The acquired patents remain subject to certain prior agreements and Nokia is pre-licensed for all the patents as part of the acquisition.
In the spirit of my own cardboard (DT-29 copy) phone stand, Aliqudsi, over on My Nokia Blog, has had a brain wave and used two bulldog/binder clips to create a four legged, stable stand for his N8, though it will also work for any other similar device, ostensibly for holding the camera phone up for stable filming, without worrying that it will fall over. Clever stuff...
11 million content items are being downloaded from Nokia Store every day, according to figures recently released by Nokia. This annualises to a rate of 4 billion downloads a year, or 1 billion a quarter. The top five countries for downloads from Nokia Store are India, China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey. The top device is the N8, followed by the 5800, 5233, 5230 and C3.
We've gotten used to all our phones now coming with Gorilla Glass, meaning no more casual scratches and no need for screen protectors. Well, 'Gorilla Glass 2' has now been announced by Corning, its creators, at CES 2012, scheduled to start going into smartphones towards the end of the year, and claimed to be 20% thinner yet as tough as the original, meaning that screens can be brighter and more sensitive when used with capacitive touch technology.
Feeling a little like a TV undercover 'mystery shopper', I picked a UK provincial town and worked my way through their High Street phone outlets. I wanted to get a snapshot of how Symbian was (or wasn't) being represented in the place from which most people acquire phones in this nation. In the process, I was somewhat shocked. However much as some geeks like to attribute failing Symbian sales per quarter to 'technical deficiencies' or 'lack of apps' (both of which are somewhat over-exaggerated), there's a far simpler explanation...
Nokia Configuration Tool, a Windows PC application for system administrators to manage the settings of Symbian phones through a USB cable or Bluetooth, has now graduated from Nokia Beta Labs and is formally available for enterprise users as version 6.3.
In this series of videos Marco Argenti, SVP Developer Experience and Marketplace at Nokia, explains some of the guiding principals behind Nokia's developer activities and the opportunities available for developers on Nokia's platforms. The video series was recorded at MEF Americas 2011 by 361 Degrees.
Thanks to a reminder from WebProNews, it's instructive to look again at the smartphone world via StatCounter, a pro service embedded on many web sites which tracks the browser and OS used to access them. And, reflecting the still enormous installed base of Symbian-powered smartphones across the world, Symbian still (for web access, at least) still dominates the world, at 31%. The full graph is below, along with some comments.
I make no apologies for another N8-related link of interest. With the end of the year approaching, it's not just me that is rounding up and summarising the smartphone world. The Mobile Tech Bishop has written a detailed and heartfelt analysis of his mobile use, covering several previous Nokia flagships, culminating in the Android-powered Galaxy S II. At which point the N8 starts to edge the SGS II out of the picture - literally. A good read!
In episode 5, season 2, of the 361 Degrees Podcast the set themselves a 'fun' challenge - to choose a new pre-pay mobile phone costing less than £100 to give as a as a Christmas present. To keep thing fair we limited our shopping spree to UK retailer Carphone Warehouse. The underlying idea of the episode was to look at the products on offer at the lower end of the market, an area that doesn't usually receive much attention.
It appears that Google has finally withdrawn its official Gmail client, written in Java, for Symbian smartphones. Version 2.06 hadn't been updated for two years and I'm guessing that changes at the server end meant that at some point in the near future the client was going to stop working anyway. To avoid complaints, Google has simply pulled the download page for the client. A shame, given that many on S60 3rd Edition phones still use it and would have liked the option to re-install it when needed (though see the PS below).
With the news that mobile (and especially Symbian) stalwarts SPB Software has been bought up by Yandex, a Russian search company, the future of star products such as the free SPB TV was in serious doubt. Happily, it seems that this application has been spun off into a separate, independent enterprise, under the company name MobiWorld Media. This should ensure SPB TV's continued existence for all mobile platforms. More below.