Some Smartphone Show Significant Statistics

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Perhaps overshadowed by some of the announcements and devices at the Smartphone Show, Symbian also quietly released a lot of interesting numbers and stats. Read on for the headline figures that I've been able to dig up and comments on the Symbian world and the industry in general. Includes the latest Canalys numbers from Symbian's own licensed reports.

If numbers cause your eyes to glaze over then feel free to move on. But for the rest of you:

  • Symbian OS-poweredSymbian now has almost 1300 employees. Actually, I had no idea of the number, but over the 1000 mark is quite impressive.
  • In the first half of 2007, 34.6 million Symbian OS-powered smartphones were shipped. So we're up to roughly 70 million a year, out of around a billion 'phones' sold per year. So 7% of all phones are powered by Symbian OS. And, interestingly, worldwide sales of desktop and laptop PCs aren't much higher and are set to be overtaken - so the smartphone will become the dominant computing form factor in the next year.
  • Looking at 'smartphones', i.e. those which can be extended using native applications (as opposed to Java midlets), Symbian OS now has a 72.4% market share (as at the end of Q2, 2007), up from 70% a year ago. If you're interested, Linux is in second place, with 13.3%, Microsoft in third with 6.1% for Windows Mobile and RIM (Blackberry) in fourth with 5.3%.
  • Apparently there are now 7888 native third party applications written to run on Symbian OS, and this number is up by almost 50% from a year ago.
  • There's been a lot of interest in starting to develop software for Symbian OS, with (apparently) over 70,000 downloads of the starter PDF on the Symbian web site. The number seems high to me, I'm guessing that the tech barriers and learning curve cause a high rate of fall off from this initial interest, despite that a number of totally free development options are available (Carbide.c++, Python, etc.)
  • China's a big growth area, sales of Symbian OS-powered phones in China already account for over 12% of Symbian's market. As with India, this can only grow and grow, despite the wide availability of cheap knock-off devices.
  • Canalys predict that global shipments of smartphones will reach 1 billion by 2012. At which point the penetration of smartphones into the overall 'phone' market (if such a distinction is still valid) will be much higher, probably around 40 to 50%.
  • You're probably wondering how Apple's iPhone is doing. Leaving aside questions about whether it's a true smartphone or not, it's currently selling at 1.3% of worldwide smartphone sales (but 12% of smartphone sales in the USA).

Steve Litchfield, AllAboutSymbian and the Smartphones Show, 30 Oct 2007