It seems difficult to imagine now that a company like Nokia was once the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world. The glory days of handsets like the 3310 are long gone with the company struggling to keep up with increasingly powerful offerings from RIM and Apple.
But until recently Nokia’s Symbian OS retained the title of most popular in the world, with 31 million sold. Android however has just gone and topped that figure with 32.9 million global sales last quarter. Google’s OS it seems is now on an almost unstoppable rise to the top.
The flexibility of Android has meant that the OS is perfectly suited to more value for money handsets as well as those at the cutting edge of technology. Thus Google has achieved dominance across price ranges with their handsets easily bettering feature phone competition at the affordable end of mobiles. Similarly those desperate for the latest iteration of Android now find their beloved OS engaging in serious competition with Apple and RIM.
The success of the iPhone and Apple’s secure position as technology leader now seems less sure, particularly when you consider the number of dual-core Android handsets announced this year. LG went ahead today and confirmed the first glasses-free 3D Android handset, yet another technological leap over Apple’s iPhone.
Nokia’s market dominance came from the companies broad spectrum of both affordable and high-tech mobile phones. They succeeded in defeating competition in both dumbphone and smartphone markets. Android looks set to do the same thing with more and more affordable Android smartphones now flooding stores. Whether or not Android will succeed in toppling Nokia’s last bastion of hope; the ‘dumbphone’ market, remains to be seen. If the OS does succeed however, it is likely that Nokia is not long for this world.
Nokia’s American CEO Steven Elop is to announce a new strategy later this month which could see the manufacturer dump Symbian altogether and give in to the powers of Android. A wise move given the now three year downfall of the Symbian OS.
A story on the BBC tech site paints a slightly different picture of Android’s success. It explains how despite the operating system grabbing the majority market share, Apple retains the financial dominance. In keeping iOS for itself and an iPhone only system, Apple has succeeded in taking about half the profits for the whole mobile industry.