Google topples Symbian from smartphones top spot
By Tarmo Virki, European Technology Correspondent
HELSINKI | Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:41am EST
(Reuters) - Google’s Android dethroned Nokia’s Symbian as the most popular smartphone platform in the last quarter of 2010, ending a reign that began with the birth of the industry 10 years ago.
Research firm Canalys said on Monday phonemakers sold 32.9 million Android-equipped phones in the last quarter, roughly seven times more than a year ago, compared with Symbian’s sales of 31 million.
The landmark piles pressure on Nokia as it struggles to reassert itself at the top end of the mobile handsets market.
The success of the open-source Android operating system, which has become the standard for most phone makers, leaves Google well placed as cellphones are due to surpass computers for accessing the web. Among key players in the industry so far only Nokia, Apple and RIM have not resisted using it.
Hit models from Samsung Electronics, HTC and LG Electronics
helped Android in the quarter, and telecom operators in many regions aggressively promoted Android phones.
“We have seen some strong products from a number of vendors,” said Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd.
In the last quarter Symbian suffered from the troubles of its owner and main user, Nokia.
Last week Nokia warned of a grim start to 2011 after rivals ate even more of its smartphone market share, highlighting the scale of the turnaround task facing its new boss.
Stephen Elop, who took over as chief executive in September, will unveil his plan to revamp Nokia’s strategy on February 11.
Elop said last week he aimed to reopen markets such as the United States and flagged possible change in software strategy in comments that experts said suggested Nokia could introduce new smartphone models using Android.
Canalys said the overall smartphone market grew 89 percent from a year ago in the fourth quarter, with all vendors in total selling 101.2 million smartphones.
Nokia shares were 1.4 percent lower at 7.74 euros by 1130 GMT.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Andrew Callus and Will Waterman)