According to the latest research on smartphone markets from ABI Research, Nokia has maintained its leadership position with a 56.4% share of the 70.9 million units shipped in 2006. Nokia sold 40 million smartphones in 2006, compared to 28.5 million in 2005. Motorola also had a strong 2006 and occupied the second position with 8.5% market share, driven by the success of its Linux-based devices in China, most notably the MING. At the same time, Symbian's strong position in the smartphone operating system market is under continued and increasing threat.
According to mobile wireless research analyst Shailendra Pandey, "The key in differentiating smartphone products still lies in the physical design, and the look and feel of the user interface. The right combination of size, form factor, operating system, and bundled applications will determine the success of a smartphone." In addition to the usual features, consumers are now increasingly seeking smartphones that have touch screens, MP3 players, Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, fast processors, and lots of memory as well as an expansion card slot.
ABI Research's new report, "Smartphones and the OS Market" found that there is a growing need to save on software bill of materials as handset ASPs continue to spiral downwards. This trend has been highlighted by Symbian's decision to lower its license fees, and by an increasing interest in Linux. Research director Stuart Carlaw remarks that, "It is not a question of 'if' but 'when' Linux will have an impact upon this market. In 2006, Symbian was estimated to have a 73% share of the smartphone OS market, yet our forecast is that it will to fall to 46% by 2012, due to strong competition coming most notably from Linux, but also from Windows Mobile."
Symbian market share analysis from ABI
Published by Steve Litchfield at
Market analysts ABI Research have predicted a gradual fall in Symbian's smartphone market share, resulting in 46% of the total market by 2012 (down from the current 73%), due to increased competition, especially from Linux (i.e. open source)-based devices. The numbers sound about right, although 46% of the size of the smartphone market in five years time is going to be a LOT. ABI's press release is below...