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Smartphone wars: Android hot; Windows not

Rory Cellan-Jones | 11:40 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

Who's winning the smartphone wars? Android, Apple and Blackberry - according to new figures from the research firm Gartner. Its figures for the first quarter of 2010, shown below, will be immensely cheering for most makers of high-end phones - though they may cast a pall over Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q10 (Thousands of Units) Source: Gartner May 2010

The first good news is that sales for the whole smartphone sector are rising at the highest rate since 2006 with consumers around the world apparently willing to pay more to do more with their mobiles. But let's look at the smartphone league and work out who's hot and who's not.

(1) Symbian: Nokia fans often testily point out that Symbian phones - mostly made by the Finnish giant - still dominate this sector while getting little credit from Apple- and Android-obsessed journalists. That's fair enough: as these figures show, Symbian is still streets ahead, having created the sector with the Nokia Communicator over a decade ago. The trouble is that Nokia is no longer a "thought leader" in smartphones - it always seems to be one step behind the innovators, and that means lower margins and a deal of nervousness in Helsinki.

(2) Research in Motion: This morning, I got a press release telling me that a waste-management firm is giving Blackberries to binmen so that it can keep track of rubbish collections. More evidence that the clever Canadians at RIM, the makers of the e-mail device, have pulled off one of the great marketing tricks of recent years. They've turned a dull but essential business device into the phone that, its fans say, every teenager - and binman - wants. The Blackberry has gone mainstream but hip at the same time by offering a simple and cheap way to communicate for one sector of the market, while retaining high-end business customers. It's only when it tries to make devices that are a little too smart that it appears to stumble.

(3) Apple: Remember the cynics who said back in 2007 that the iPhone would be a niche gadget that would have no major effect on the mobile industry? Just look at Apple's share price today - and the way other manufacturers have rushed out their own touch-screens and app stores - to see how wrong that judgement was. With more than twice as many iPhones sold in the first three months of 2010 as in the same period last year, the success story continues. But look at number four in the chart for proof that Apple needs to keep "thinking different".

(4) Android: And a year ago, the cynics still thought Google's Android operating system was going to be a niche geeky platform. But a rash of new phones - from the Motorola Droid to the HTC Desire - has given Android lift-off, with nearly 10% of the market in the first quarter of 2010. In the United States, Android phones actually outsold the iPhone. The open nature of the platform, and the fact that Google does not act as a gatekeeper to its app store, has made it very attractive to developers. Mind you, next month we should see the iPhone 4g - and that will make Apple v Android all the more interesting.

(5) Windows Mobile: Poor old Microsoft, relegated to fifth place as consumers ignore the reliable old stager in favour of newer, shinier operating systems. At Mobile World Congress, the company unveiled a new operating system, Windows Phone 7, which appeared extremely impressive, imitating and perhaps surpassing the kind of innovations we've seen from Apple and Android. Major phone manufacturers were all supportive, promising to work with Microsoft on compelling handsets with the new system - but by the time they hit the market at the end of this year, consumers will have seen new iPhone and Android models. Maybe Microsoft has already missed the smartphone bus?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Something very wrong with those figures - 1.6% for Android? If that's the case then surely it's Windows hot, Android not?

  • Comment number 2.

    No way of withdrawing a comment, based on the fact that my brain wasn't working in the previous comment?

    Apologies.

  • Comment number 3.

    I recently had to choose a smartphone, which had to double as a VOIP phone to replace my soon-to-be-defunct landline. So, low-end, but with specific requirements.

    I immediately ruled out Apple and RIM phones. They simply exert far too much control over what I can and cannot do with my device. They are making hay while the sun shines, but surely cannot remain on top of the market.

    Symbian phones are just too disparate in terms of what they can do, with all of the decent Symbian phones carrying a hefty pricetag.

    Android phones look lovely, and I'm sure they're the future, but I'm not prepared to pay the early adopter premium.

    I admit I didn't know Linux phones exist. So in the end, I plumped for a Windows phone, and have been pleasantly surprised. The thing is far superior to my Blackberry in every way imaginable other than battery life. As Rory says, RIM have pulled off an astonishing marketing feat in keeping their limited phones at the top for so long.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have a Blackberry and a Droid. Both are great, I love the blackberry for it's simplicity handling email but the Droid for everything else.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nokia could be a thought leader if only they'd commit to one thing or another. Earlier this year I was reading headlines that said that they were abandoning the outdated S60 for Linux, and sure enough, out came the N900 with Maemo. Then Maemo was being replaced by Meego & we were left thinking "Should I bother getting an N900?", then we're told actually, there's a new version of S60 coming out after all. It's all pretty cutting edge but all so confused & disparate. In the end I got an HTC Desire because they at least have made a commitment to Android.

  • Comment number 6.

    iPhone 4G is just Apple's attempt to catch up with (and fend off) the Android competition, particularly the HTC competition. It will be a nice handset, running a nice OS, BUT.... watch Android for the future innovation in this field.

  • Comment number 7.

    @1: you're reading the 2009 figures. Check 3 columns to the left

  • Comment number 8.

    And Rory, it's not somuch that journalists are obsessed with iPhones, but that Media companies on the whole are obsessed with it.

    For example, sick of hearing:

    "Download the new xxx news app for iPhone to stay up to date"

    as if every person in the country owns an iPhone. Erm.. no, they don't. It's a million people at most. What about the 50 odd million Symbian users? Aren't they worthy of reading the news?

    Problem is, it's media types, TV types, Radio types, newspaper types that are the main consumers of iPhones (and Apple computers in general) - and this feeds into way too much exposure for their devices, almost no coverage for anything else. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, something Apple are well aware of when they market their devices at you. In short, you're providing them with free, constant, and wall-to-wall advertising, whether you realise it or not. Chances are, you don't realise it, because you've been sucked in.

  • Comment number 9.

    Interesting to see that Andoid is 4th to the iPhone globally as Android is currently beating the iPhone in Apple's biggest market (the US).

    I'll produce some stats later when I get time.

  • Comment number 10.

    You'll have to remind me when Windows Mobile was a "reliable old stager". Microsoft ignored the handset market for years, in a bid to keep computing on the PC, and their offerings were predictably lack-luster, as a result. The company succeeded in "putting a computer in every home", but still very much thought that that computer should have its own special room, with a printer and a scanner, at a big old desk. For many of the founders at Microsoft, having a computer was really all about having your own pet Mainframe.

    With this sort of mindset in operation, their handset offerings have always tended to miss the mark by such a wide margin, they were actually shooting into the audience. Working on the Windows Mobile team could often be the equivalent of career-death, at Redmond, and that hasn't helped them innovate and lead in the handset market. Given that many argue that Microsoft's dominance of the PC market was largely achieved by foisting their software on the buyer, as the only available option, then this was a very unwise course of action. They let their rabbit get away, and now, frankly, I suspect they're dead: they just don't know it, yet. Their business is about selling overpriced software to people, and sooner or later their customers will realise this fact.

  • Comment number 11.

    Android is clearly where it's at. I know plenty of disgruntled iPhone users looking envious at HTC Desire....

    I was a early adopter, and still very happy with my HTC Hero, it does everything a iPhone does, and so much more and it does them better too.. (Multitasking for instance)

  • Comment number 12.

    I recently joined the smartphone era with an HTC Legend. Basically it is a slightly smaller and cheaper version of the Desire, and it is fantastic. The total freedom to do whatever I want with my phone is brilliant, including the ability to install whatever app I want and not what Apple tells me is appropriate. I currently have a Gameboy emulator running so I can replay all my old games again. Having widgets makes it more usable and better looking on screen than an iPhone. The funniest thing though? It looks more like a Macbook Pro than the iPhone.

  • Comment number 13.

    The OS classification is a bit strange Android uses a modified Linux kernel but is not Linux

  • Comment number 14.

    On the Linux/Android thing, Linus Torvalds uses a Nexus One. It'd be fair to expect him to use a Finnish phone running a purer form of Linux but by all accounts Linus considers his Nexus One to be the bees knees!

  • Comment number 15.

    "The trouble is that Nokia is no longer a "thought leader" in smartphones"

    No, they just settle for selling more smartphones than their next two - or is it three? - rivals combined.

    Also amusing that you peg Android, Apple and RIM as the winners when Symbian's increase in units is about two thirds of RIM's total sales, 80% of Apple's and 120% of Androids.

    Rory, you need to open your eyes and do a bit of research. Symbian has little presence in the US market whereas Apple and RIM are far more reliant on it. To put this in context 60%+ of RIM and Android sales were made in the US last year and over 40% of Apple's. Only 3% of Symbian's were. The US market accounts for 25% of the smartphone market and grew nearly twice as fast as the average of the regional markets. Outside the US it's very, very different. Symbian had 65% of the market, Apple 12%, RIM 10% and Android 3%, This includes the EMEA region - although the split is closer to 55/15/15.

    Now Nokia do have problems - they have failed in the US market and they don't have a high end proposition to compete against the iPhone and the newer HTC android handsets. They are, however, still utterly dominant in the phone market - whether that's featurephones or smartphones - and incredibly profitable.

    And that's what makes us a bit testy - first of all the use of wallpaper phrases like 'thought leader' or the equally embarrassing 'mindshare' and 'ecosystem' which don't really mean anything. Apple and RIM sell lots of phones and make lots of money. This is a fact. Nokia sell far, far more and also make lots of money. This is also a fact.

    The high end of the phone market is notoriously fickle. It's great when your riding high but if you don't have anythign to fall back on then you're doomed. Motorola found this out the hard way when the RAZR became yesterday's phone. Are Apple going to make the same mistake? Noki on the other hand don't put all their eggs in one basket. That's why they've won quarter after quarter.

  • Comment number 16.

    As an aside, people may want to consider which Android phones are the most desired and why.

    ...

    Oh all right, it's the HTC ones running Sense UI which just goes to show that the OS itself isn't really important, it's the UI layer.

  • Comment number 17.

    iggy23 @ 8

    "Media types" (and yes I'm one), do tend to go for gadgets (and other items) that look good as well as do what they want. This is no doubt because we do tend to be more visually oriented than most people. Doesn't make us any better of course, but that no doubt explains any over emphasis. I agree that with only a 15% market share, the iPhone does seem to get a lot more press than you would expect, but this can't all be down to just us "media types".

    The fact is, Apple do make gadgets that are both well-made, and incredibly easy to use, without having to go through complicated routines just to start working on whatever it is you've got to do. That's their real strength, and that's why customers love them. My MacPro is probably the best computer around, and I've never had a single issue with it. My previous old PowerMac (10 years old and counting) is still merrily chugging along, albeit relegated to less intensive tasks these days. My iPod is brilliant, so much so I haven't even turned on my hi-fi for the last 3 years, and am considering sticking it on eBay (along with all my CD's) to save some much-needed space. And yes, I'll be getting the iPhone 4G too.

    Why? Because everything that Apple makes works so seamlessly with everything else Apple makes. No, I don't feel like I'm locked into a proprietary system: I'm happy I can just switch everything on and it works perfectly, without having to figure out why some item doesn't integrate with some other item, leaving me free to get on with my work straight away.

    It actually doesn't matter a whit to me that another phone or another OS might be a bit "better" ( a subjective term, surely?) than Apple's: what I want is the hassle-free, worry-free, virus-free, time-saving convenience that Apple gives me with all their products, even if I do have to pay a bit extra for it.

    As for the Blackberry, being a grown man I find it impossible to use the tiny buttons: who on earth designs these things? Elves?

  • Comment number 18.

    Rory, I'm sure you know Apple are based in Cupertino, but Nokia are not based in Helsinki - the Nokia HQ is in Espoo.

    Nokia may not be a "thought leader" right now but with the MeeGo initiative they're promoting the most open platform for smartphones available, and in the face of Apple restrictions that's quite refreshing. If they can execute on MeeGo effectively - a big if - I think MeeGo will make a very interesting platform on which to build (MeeGo is also backed by about 40 other companies, including Intel, and stands a good chance of being everywhere eventually).

  • Comment number 19.

    A big problem, also, for Symbian, is that its never been a terribly pleasant platform to develop for, and is now becoming an unfashionable one to develop for.

    If you become a platform that is niche, all the way down to the tools required, you risk becoming like the British motorcycle industry in the 70s- fabulously loved by an increasingly smaller pool of devoted followers, while the rest of the world tells each other "Don't get one of those, Malcolm".

  • Comment number 20.

    13. At 5:55pm on 20 May 2010, Dave Parker wrote:

    The OS classification is a bit strange Android uses a modified Linux kernel but is not Linux

    My reply:

    The OS classification is pretty simple for Android: It's Android/Linux (Linux with Android user space tools). Much like Ubuntu is GNU/Linux (Linux with GNU user space tools)

  • Comment number 21.

    Will we be seeing 3 times the amount of Nokia stories compared with iPhone stories, rather than the (vastly more than) 3 times iPhone compared with Nokia that we have at present?

    It would be nice to hear about what they are doing for a change, than yet another application, I mean, glorified web short-cut.

  • Comment number 22.

    "A big problem, also, for Symbian, is that its never been a terribly pleasant platform to develop for, and is now becoming an unfashionable one to develop for."

    Really? Proof of that please.

  • Comment number 23.

    Not all smartphones are that smart.

    Not all smartphones are the same.

    Not all smartphone users' use their phone's 'features' evenly, or even at all.

    Comparing apples with oranges is not all that useful, or meaningful!

    Interesting information would relate to how these devices are used and not how many sophisticate smarts each phone posses.

    Many very useful 'features' in early devices get removed from later devices - meaning that it is actually a downgrade to upgrade for some users! (network operator tariffs are often a disaster too and crimp the style of users - they do this for good reasons - the phone network has not got the technical capacity to provide the data that the applications on the phones need! And of course they vastly overpaid for the 3G licences - where are / when are the G4 networks in the UK?) The phone operators must eventually learn that there are no killer aps, and the market is saturated! (but they will never admit it!)

    The bigger the market gets the lower the price, but the more restricted the feature set, so early adopters are driven out of the market.

    Most of these gadgets are closed technologies (saving Android) - the dumb smart phone operators want to restrict users to walled gardens (esp. Apple). The dumber / less demanding / less capable of using the features, the customer the more prepared he/she is to accept the walled garden.

    Walled Gardens are bad!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    From 22:
    >> "A big problem, also, for Symbian, is that its never been a terribly pleasant platform to develop for, and is now becoming an unfashionable one to develop for."

    > Really? Proof of that please.

    I don't know about proof, but early symbian required you to write in an obscure dialect of C - it was awful. Recent high-end symbian phones basically support POSIX, so that's a big difference, but (a) if I write a POSIX symbian app for those high-end phones, it won't work on the old ones, and (b) in the world of mee-mae-go-mo, symbian for smartphones seems a bit pointless.

    And all phones are getting smarter all the time, so despite symbian's current dominance, I predict a slow decline.

    As opposed to WindowsMobile, for which I would predict a fast decline :-) Hold a WinMo phone close to an iPhone and it's clear that the only thing the WinMo phone is good for is recycling.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Most of these gadgets are closed technologies (saving Android)"

    Well actually even Android is full of restrictions - it has very limited native code APIs (that are available to third party developers), and most apps have to be written in Dalvik (a Java variant) which means that porting C/C++ based code is a complete pain if not impossible or worth the effort.

    WM7 native code API access will also be restricted, as it is in Palm WebOS (basically JavaScript only). Obviously we know about Apple...

    The only truly open platform is Maemo/MeeGo. Do what you like, in whatever language you like. No restrictions. None.

    Not that that matters to the vast majority of consumers, and I think the mobile platform battle will really be fought over services, not APIs or development tools.

  • Comment number 26.

    "(b) in the world of mee-mae-go-mo, symbian for smartphones seems a bit pointless."

    From a Nokia standpoint, in the world of Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo, they will all support Qt and the Web Runtime - you write a Qt application (in whatever language you choose) and it will run on all those operating systems. Unchanged. The only time you would need to recompile your application is when targeting a different CPU architecture, ie x86 or ARM, and then it's just a simple recompile - no code changes. And if you develop an application using the Web Runtime you won't have to recompile your code no matter the target CPU architecture.

    In future it won't be about developing for Symbian, or MeeGo, it will be about developing for Web Runtime or natively for Qt which is a *very* well developed cross-platform framework that has been available and in use on desktops for a long time (Google Earth, Skype and Opera all use Qt).

    The reason for the differentiation between Symbian and MeeGo devices is purely marketing and margins as far as I can tell - Symbian will be for mid-range devices classed as "Smartphones" while MeeGo will be higher margin "Mobile Computers". However in terms of application development, all the same.

  • Comment number 27.

    I recently purchased a HTC Desire. I can see why Android phones have exploded in the last year. Growing 8 times over in a year is pretty impressive.
    Apple devices are no longer very special. I myself have handled both and see little much to chant about Apple any longer. To me, Android has surpassed Apple in quality. Build and software wise. It seems outdated to keep repeating that Apple is the king here.
    As for Symbian, it's not cutting edge, but it is on a lot more phones. Smart or not. Nokia is a known, trusted, and familiar brand to a lot of us. My previous phone was a Nokia in fact.
    Blackberry users seem to swear by them, but I have not had enough time with one, even if all of my friends have them. Unlike iPhone and Andriod users, they seem less inclined to show off and share their new phone. Honestly, my phone is part toy, part serious communication device, and part useful-device.
    Symbian is also a horrible, ugly and outdated OS and needs to end.

  • Comment number 28.

    (Apple) ".....and the way other manufacturers have rushed out their own touch-screens and app stores."

    Rory, your talking as if Apple invented the concept of a touch screen phone and an application store.

    If you want look at touch screen smart phones you can go back to the Compaq Ipaq,the nokia Nokia 9210 going back even further to 1994 the IBM Simon where some manufacturers were still struggling with phones! Which I'm sure would have been classed as a smartphone in the day.

    The mobile market and smartphone sector will allways be a changing area. People will innovate, people will get it wrong.

    There is no such thing, nor has there ever been, a "best all round phone" available on the market, simply advantages and disadvantages. How many updates did it take for the Iphone to support Microsoft Exchange, the largest market share for business mail servers and actually become a Business Phone at that point.



  • Comment number 29.

    @Mark_MWFC

    What you say is only partially true. HTC's SenseUI is an extremely desirable feature and puts it above the other Android handsets.

    HOWEVER. That's not the only important thing, whilst putting SenseUI on a non-android device makes it look pretty (HTC do indeed have SenseUI on non-Android devices), none of those phones have anywhere near the power or flexibility of Android.

    As someone who was locked into Apple's dictatorship with a iPhone, moving to Android is a total breath of fresh air.

    I can install whatever apps I choose, hell, I can even tick a box to say I want to install apps from non-marketplace locations (like other marketplaces, or directly from the SD Card), no need to Jailbreak Android phone!

    I can buy and install my music from where I want.

    The Google offerings (all for free) are so much better than anything Apple offer up. Offerings like Gmail, Google Calendar (all automatically sync'd with the online side), Maps, SatNav, SkyMap Google Gogles and so on.

  • Comment number 30.

    After becoming fed up of being always connected, I recently ditched my smart phone and bought nokia's most basic phone...a thin version of something I had about 8 years ago. Only my wife and a few friends have my number.

    I feel really liberated, I probably get more work done now when I sit at my computer and focus.

    On reflection after stepping out of the gadget obsession I can't help but think that the phone manufacturers are telling us we need these features and then giving them to us. When in actual fact they are distractions that make us less efficient.

    Low info diet ftw

  • Comment number 31.

    Once again, it is very difficult to compare the iPhone OS to Android.

    Yes, they do the same job ultimately, but the different form factors and pricing of Android phones from budget to high-end, is not comparable to the one form factor, one variation a year delivery style of iPhone and Apple.

    To compare "Android" to "iPhone" is like comparing the entire range of the VW group to just the Porsche models.

  • Comment number 32.

    @peejkerton

    Even the mid-range Android based handets offer more than the iPhone does.

  • Comment number 33.

    The trouble we have with this is pretty straight forward. Not all phones on a particular OS are the same. Android is available on several phones, aimed at several different markets. The iPhone will always have a disproportionate market percentage because Apple only really sell one model at a time, currently the 3GS. HTC on the other hand sell several models, running various OS's and aimed at various price groups. There is no 'best' phone, simply a phone that meets your needs.

  • Comment number 34.

    Interestign to note that these figures are for Q1 2010 which was actually before the HTC Desire, HTC Legend, HTC Incredible, LG Ally, SE X10 etc were released/released widely and so Android can only be expected to go up!

  • Comment number 35.

    Rory,

    Am sorry but I think this story is all about crowd-following, and has little in the way of analysing what the devices in can or cannot do. Looking at your piece on Microsoft, it certainly doesn't do them any good at all in that you're clearly putting off people. I've had Windows mobile phones from the early years and most recently I owned a Toshiba TG01 with Windows mobile 6.5. I now have an HTC Hero with Android 1.5, (long wait for Android 2.2), and I really miss my TG01. There's a lot to like about the Android OS, but I find the interfaces on the HTC Hero a bit fiddly for me to actually do all that the device allows me to. Typing is a chore! compared to the TG01, which has a 4.2in touch screen. Toshiba are now giving away Microsoft Office 2010 as as free download.

    I couldn't fault you on your opinion of what's cool and what's not, nor should anyone fault me on the same. But when you're presenting articles the way you have done on this one, I have to disagree.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well, I'm a huge fan of Linux, and use that OS on all my computers, but I find the names that Nokia chooses for its Linux-based operating systems embarrassing.

    Presumably the process is similar to the way new cars are named, so you get an operating system that sounds like a small family car.

    If it was called Ubuntu, then I'd at least know that Intel and Nokia were starting to understand culture, rather than pretending to create it.

  • Comment number 37.

    The iPhone isn't that great a gadget to have. It is something you may need to use daily and considering alot of people I know who have one, have had problems with them... well they are reliable.

    It is time the media cooled down their obsession with Apple, it is time to expose the rot and give the rest of the competition some air time because when it comes to iPhone and Andriod for mobiles, the BBC is incredibly biased and does not report according to the install base... that is, Symbian is still the daddy but BBC is ignoring it exists.

  • Comment number 38.

    Meant to say, iPhones are not reliable. This BBC needs an edit option, like all other news sites have.

  • Comment number 39.

    I bought a Windows mobile phone - The HTC HD2 last Christmas, under the false impression that it would be upgraded from Windows mobile 6.5 to 7 when the latter was released.

    Apparently it has too many buttons, according to Microsoft, so that wont be happening- that is probably the most pathetic excuse I have ever heard, having just spent £500 on a handset. The phone is brilliant, HTC do a fantastic job of hiding the clunky windows OS, until you delve too deep into the system. The OS is horrendous though- requires a restart every couple of days to work smoothly, and is everything I hate about windows. I still would prefer it to the iphone though, as I don't like having my freedoms being so obviously decided the whims of Steve Jobs, as well as the ability to tether and have a half decent camera resolution.

    I much prefer an open-style OS that I can program for, but Microsoft have let their paying customers down AGAIN. I see absolutely no reason to ever buy a Microsoft based mobile again, based on the appalling way they treat their customers, and it will be Android for me in the future, so in essence I am not at all surprised that Microsoft's market share is declining rapidly. As a customer I see that as positive, as they will have to innovate for once to actually stay in this business sector.

  • Comment number 40.

    Gone for Android (Sony X10 on O2) and wont turn back now. Got every app I need and free satnav - and don't feel like an i-sheep!

  • Comment number 41.

    Android stats revealed at Google IO by Vic Gundotra was imporessive. i thought the readers would be interested in it. Here is it
    http://buzzintechnology.com/2010/05/androids-success-in-numbers/

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry. one more comment. Not spamming. When iPhone was released in 2007, people were cynical. true. but for a reason. iPhone costed $599 with no apps and just 4GB. that was super expensive.
    http://buzzintechnology.com/2010/04/a-brief-history-of-overpricing-iphone-kindle-and-ipad/

  • Comment number 43.

    @SpeelingMistake #39: at no point did MS or HTC ever say that the HD2 would be upgradeable to WinMo/WinPho 7.


    @The_Hess #12: sorry to burst your bubble but the Legend is really just a Hero with a facelift as opposed to a slightly-cheaper Desire.
    It's pretty much the same size as the Hero, a little thinner with a bit more RAM and a marginally-faster CPU but it falls a long way behind the Desire.


    @Mark_MWFC #15: to suggest that Motorola's near-demise on the fact that the mobile phone market is fickle shows a distinct lack of understanding of what happened.
    What happened to Motorola can be directly attributed to the fact that 5 years after the original Razr was released, they were still selling flip phones running software that hadn't been improved or developed in any way. They were lazy and complacent and got what they deserved, very few would've mourned their passing.
    Android has, in many ways, been the perfect solution for Motorola as it allows them to ship phones using an up-to-date OS with little-to-no cost or effort on their part.



    One point that I don't feel anyone has really touched upon is that despite the fact that it's market-share has dropped, WinMo is selling pretty much the same number of units as it was last year which is really something of an achievement for a product trapped in the grip of the 'Osborne effect'.

    I for one am very interested to see what launch devices will accompany the release of WinPho 7.
    The mere fact that MS's minimum hardware requirements are on a par with the highest-spec handsets currently on the market is cause for some optimism but combined with what seems to be an impressive (and long-overdue) overhaul of the OS itself, one can't help but wonder if Microsoft might just pull off a similar turnaround in the mobile market that they did in moving from Vista to Win7.

  • Comment number 44.

    I got my iphone so I can use spotify on the move - and it can't even do that properly (i have to lose the music to do anything else on the phone) it was my first taste of the apple experience and it will be my last.

    When the contract allows I will upgrade to something that treats me less like a child and more like an adult.

  • Comment number 45.

    @dempsi

    "What happened to Motorola can be directly attributed to the fact that 5 years after the original Razr was released, they were still selling flip phones running software that hadn't been improved or developed in any way."

    Or, in other words, they became unfashionable and didn't have any alternatives to offer.

    Which is what I said.

  • Comment number 46.

    @dempsi

    Yes the Legend is a facelifted Hero, but it has the latest version of Android, like the Desire. The Desire has a 1GHz processor, the Legend a 600MHz processor, but the Legend has a smaller screen with a lower resolution so doesn't need the extra processor speed. Both are still better than an iPhone though, and that makes me smile.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have both an HTC HD2 (winmo) and an HTC Desire (Android). Its true the Desire is slicker, funkier and easier to use, but the HD2 is more powerful and flexible. Its miles better as a media device. The screen is immense, it plays movies better (better support for non mp4 files) and is completely configurable in any fashion you see fit.
    The problem is no OS is as flexible and modifiable as winmo 6.5. If it was better looking and faster (needs to support ARM v7), then it would kill. Its interesting that although the market share for Winmo has dropped, the overall sales are holding up. There is a market out there for such an OS.

    Both are superior to the iphone. Why? Well the hardware is better for a start, but ultimately both are free from the restrictions Apple so enjoy forcing on us. Just lately the moralising that has come from Jobs has been sickening and insulting. I just wonder how long it will be before the public wakes up to it. While the OS is slick and smooth its so boring its like a shot of Novocaine into the brain stem. OS4 does little to encourage me. Sure some of the apps are great, but 99% don't interest me and unless i had a VERY specific app requirement that only the iphone had i wouldn't get one. Chances. are 95% of the iphones users don't have that requirement and would be served as well or better by the cheaper android devices.

    No idea about RIM really, dont like the look of them and the little ive used a blackberry really didnt impress me at all. Not really all that smart as far as i can tell.

    Ive had 7 symbians and i loved them. Simple to use and fast, but the N95 8GB was the last. Still one of the best cameras ever on a mobile and it just worked well. The touch symbians haven't impressed though, they seem like part finished beta devices to me and seem rather limited. A real shame.

  • Comment number 48.

    I was unlucky enough to get a samsung notsosmartphone last year running a version of Symbian.
    Cant tell you how glad I was to get shot after 7 failed to work properly and got an HTC running Android.
    Cant see me EVER getting an iPhone, as I dont see the need for all tose apps, but my Hero suits me down to the ground.
    I love HTC and am very impressed with Android.

  • Comment number 49.

    I can see why Android has grown so quickly over the last year. I had an Iphone for about 8 months and I wasnt too sure on the OS, the browser would constantly crash and the OS was very slow.

    I am now on Android and I am having no issues what so ever. Heck, I have an uptime on 1386 hours, now I would like to see an Iphone with uptime higher than that.

  • Comment number 50.

    andie99uk.. I wouldnt blame symbian for the failing of the Samsung, id blame Samsung. They just dont seem to understand what a smartphone is. Their winmo, android and symbian devices seem to be worthless. They just dont support them with apps the way the other manufacturers do, or put custom interfaces on them that mess with the apps that are there.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    I don't understand apple fan's assertions that,

    "Apple do make gadgets that are both well-made, and incredibly easy to use, without having to go through complicated routines just to start working on whatever it is you've got to do."

    What about their iPods, you can't just copy tunes on and off, you have to sync it with your PC thru iTunes, no choice. That to me is not easy to use and is an unnecessarily complicated routine just to start working on whatever it is you've got to do.

    Their real strength is in redesgining and remarketing other companies innovations to a broader audience and to makle them feel that apple corporation is a friendly consumer aimed, easy-to-use option.

    I hate the way consumers see their products through such rose tinted glasses, "My MacPro is probably the best computer around, and I've never had a single issue with it. My previous old PowerMac (10 years old and counting) is still merrily chugging along, albeit relegated to less intensive tasks these days."

    Have you tried other computers? My old PC is working fine and has no problems with intensive tasks. If it did I would update the necessary components, not give apple the money for a whole new one !

    Also, "My iPod is brilliant, so much so I haven't even turned on my hi-fi for the last 3 years, and am considering sticking it on eBay (along with all my CD's) to save some much-needed space. And yes, I'll be getting the iPhone 4G too."

    The fact is this apple lover is describing any mp3 player here, yeah the mp3 market has made hi-fis and CDs obselete and apple I am sure have a big chunk of this market however as with internet tablets and smartphones apple did not invent the technology, the first mp3 player came out in 1996, apple didn't get into the maket until the end of 2001.

    Apple, technology innovator, no
    Apple, maketing innovator, yes.

  • Comment number 53.

    Plugging the values into a spreadsheet and working out percentage change in units sold over the year:

    Symbian: +35.0%
    RIM: +40.1%
    iPhone: +117.2%
    Android: +806.4%
    Windows: -0.9%
    Linux: -21.5%
    Other: -9.2%

    Reading up on Android, although it is based on Linux, it is unwise to bundle it up in statistics with other Linux-based phones, as it uses a modified version of the kernel (i.e. seperated from the main kernel.org tree), it does not have a native X Window system, it doesn't support the full set of GNU libraries (e.g. the C library), and it doesn't use established Java standards.

    So while it is open source, it isn't as open as 'normal' Linux. But any competition to the iPhone (which many organisations, including local authorities, seem to regard as the only mobile phone technology around) and Windoze Mobile (whose sales probably weren't helped many years ago by what was often regarded as the dreadful Windows CE) can only be beneficial :)

  • Comment number 54.

    Actually I have BlackBerry and I am quite satisfied with its performance I am using my social networking sites on it and right now I am not looking for any other smartphone.

    Thanks
    Faris
    Android Blog

  • Comment number 55.

    Er Android is based upon Linux! Even if it is modified, it's still Linux nonetheless.

  • Comment number 56.

    I Really like the updated Android 2.2 on Droid X and is very much easy and fun to use. But i must say that Android has improved a lot in performance wise in SmartPhones

    Regards,
    Raheel
    Apple Blog

  • Comment number 57.

    The trouble we have with this is pretty straight forward. Not all phones on a particular OS are the same. Android is available on several phones, aimed at several different markets. The iPhone will always have a disproportionate market percentage because Apple only really sell one model at a time, currently the 3GS. HTC on the other hand sell several models, running various OS's and aimed at various price groups. There is no 'best' phone, simply a phone that meets your needs.

 

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