Tag Archives: mobile phones

Symbian Vs iPhone: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

TechCruch and GigaOm both commented the Symbian quarterly results. Both blogs compared Nokia’s OS to iPhone and reached two opposite conclusions.

Facts by GigaOm:

  • Symbian shipped 19.5 Million units in Q2, 5% year-on-year growth.
  • iPhone shipped 0.77 Million units of its 2G model in Q2, a 166% year-on year growth, considering iPhone only sold during last month of Q2 last year. “It is easy to grow from nothing” GigaOm says.
  • Gartner estimates 304.7 million phones shipped during the second quarter, giving Symbian a 6.4% market share and iPhone a 0.2% share.
  • Symbian has more than 9800 applications available, while App Store has only 2500.

Conclusion: Symbian is still the market leader in mobile phones by far, and iPhone, despite the hype, is almost a negligible anecdote. At 19.5 Million Symbian units in Q2 the glass is half full for Symbian, according to GigaOM.

Facts by TechCrunch:

  • Symbian shipped 19.5 Million units in Q2, 5% growth year-on-year.
  • iPhone has sold 6 million units of iPhone since the 3G model launched less than 2 months ago. 
  • iPhone is selling 800.000 units per week. At this pace, Q3 unit sales will have a year-on-year growth of 900%. 
  • At one third of that growth rate, iPhone will surpass Symbian shipped units by Q3 2009.

Conclusion: It is just a matter of time that iPhone beats Symbian. At 19.5 Million Symbian units in Q2 the glass is half empty for Symbian, according to TechCrunch.

Both posts report that 159 different Symbian models have been shipped “compared to just a handful from RIM and one from Apple”. But is that really good news for Symbian?

Despite maintaining the market share leadership, Nokia is no longer the object of desire for Smartphone users. iPhone is. Blackberry Bold is too. Nokia might have not lost the lead in market share yet, but they sure have in user’s mindshare.

I tend to see the glass half empty for Nokia’s OS.

Nokia Still Don’t Get it

 “It is the usability, stupid.”

In essence, Nokia keeps developing mobile phones, when younger generations do not care about a phone but about communications in an ample sense (IM, Facebook, web, etc) and multimedia (music, music , music, clips and music). And they do not want multimedia to be a poor media player added on a phone with not even a plug for a standard earbuds stereo jack.

Examples of usability for Nokia phones (and most traditional mobile phone vendors):
1) Why insist on a dialpad inherited from old telephones, when most calls are initiated by a click in the address book?
2) Why is the main input interface still based on a numeric keypad, when most of the inputs are actually text (SMS, URLs, IM, address book names,…)?

Blackberry got it right from the start, as any Blackberry user will confirm. This is THE device for corporate email. Easy to read and navigate through emails, easy to write with the keyboard, easy to search and file messages while wirelessly synchronizing with your inbox, calendar and address book on your laptop/server. Even Windows Mobile did a better job than Symbian in usability, phone stability problems and high prices aside.

iPhone has definitively raised the bar, and every one is expecting Android to follow the path, only with a wider hardware variety from the Open Handset Alliance vendors.

“The innovation […] is not that they let us do something new, but that they allow us to do what we already do better, more often, in more places and more quickly.” -Joshua Porter

Blackberry and iPhone definitively got it right.

Nokia keeps trying and now Comes with Music, to counter-attack the iPhone-iTunes duo. Will that be enough for music fans to choose an N81 over an iPhone? I doubt it. Nokia’s market share will be sustained by low cost phones, specially in Asian developing countries. (That assuming that Apple does not halve iPhone price next year into $99…)