Symbian Still Leading Mobile Device Market

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According to market research firm Canalys, the Symbian OS continues to lead the world market for what it calls smart mobile devices, which includes both handhelds and smartphones.

In fact, the Symbian OS leads this market by a wide margin. In the first quarter of this year, 61.4 percent of smart mobile devices ran the Symbian OS, while Microsoft’s Windows Mobile had 18.3 percent and the Palm OS had 10.5 percent.

In addition, the number of Symbian devices shipped last quarter nearly tripled when compared with the same quarter of the previous year. The number of Windows Mobile devices went up 44 percent, while the number of Palm OS devices dropped 10 percent. Although only in fourth place, the number of RIM BlackBerry devices doubled.

Overall global shipments of all smart mobile devices was up 82 percent year on year. The number of unconnected handhelds was down 6 percent, but shipments of smartphones and cellular-wireless handhelds was up 137 percent.

Big Change Coming?

Although the Symbian OS is on top now, two analysts from Gartner are predicting that it will soon be replaced by Windows Mobile.

The analysts, Nick Jones and John Girard, say that Windows Mobile 2005 for Smartphones will fix all the problems in previous versions, and then the race between it and the Symbian OS will simply come down to marketing. They believe that in that competition Microsoft will come out on top.

More details of the analysts’ opinions can be found in this Inquirer article.

First Quarter Results by Company

Shipments of Symbian OS devices were dominated by Nokia, who made 82 percent of all the units that use this operating system. Therefore it isn’t surprising that one of the primary reasons for the Symbian OS’s recent success has been because of a sharp increase in Nokia’s shipments.

According to Canalys, 50 percent of all smart mobile devices shipped last quarter came from Nokia. This was a significant increase, helped along by strong sales of the company’s Communicator line of cellular-wireless handhelds.

In second place was palmOne, which had 9.4 percent of the worldwide market. This company’s shipments grew 1 percent when compared with the first quarter of 2004.

In third place was RIM, which had 7.0 percent of the worldwide market. As previously mentioned, the number of RIM BlackBerry devices doubled.

Rounding out the top five was Fujitsu with 6.1 percent and HP with 5.6 percent.

More information is available on the Canalys web site.

Thanks to Pocket PC Thoughts for the tip.

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