Tough competition from Android smartphone vendors and Apple iPhone combined to Nokia’s announcement to eventually kill Symbian has resulted to something which would sounded unbelievable a couple of years ago: During Q2 2011, Apple passed Nokia as the largest smartphone vendor. Nokia shippad about 16,7 million smartphones, against 25,2 million Apple iPhone shipments.
Nokia’s smartphone shipments dropped 34% YoY (from Q2 2010), and 31% from Q1 2011. Their whole business was only barely profitable, thanks to the 430 million euros patent payments settlement with Apple.
Samsung has not yet reported Q2 2011 results, but it has been estimated they have shipped about 19,5 million Android and Bada smartphones. This would mean Nokia has dropped to third position in smartphones. There’s is a good graph about smartphone shipments and market shares since Q3 20008 at All About Symbian.
I’m still puzzled by Stephen Elop’s announcement in February to ”slash Symbian” such a long time before they would have any Windows Phone devices. He didn’t even have some prototype with a Nokia logo to show back then.
Who would want to develop applications and games for a platform with such an uncertain future? Or buy those apps? Personally I’ve noticed I don’t want to pay for Symbian apps anymore, because it feels like the platform will be discontinued too soon, even though it will probably remain active for many years.
I would have expected Nokia to announce they will at first bring Windows Phone devices to selected markets, such as France, Germany, UK and especially USA, and later when they have seen much well WP can compete against Android and iOS, move further to replacing Symbian.
Nokia has promised support for current Symbian phones and new phones, but until now their actions haven’t been very convincing. We haven’t seen a new high-end Symbian devices comparable with the top models from HTC and Samsung, and Symbian Anna updates for current Symbian 3 smartphones have been delayed too many times. Slightly updated software won’t bring Nokia N8 or X7 to same level than HTC Sensation or Samsung Galaxy S II.
I assume Nokia will have to lower prices a lot to sell at least some more Symbian devices this year, but then there Huawei and ZTE offering very affordable Android smartphones.
To become the market share leader in smartphones again, Nokia will have come up with some very impressive Windows Phone devices, not just copies of what we have already seen from other vendors.