Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Has Nokia Mounted A Smartphone Comeback?

By now, you probably know about the volleys of lawsuits lobbed against each other by Apple and Nokia.  During that time, it has kind of made Nokia out to be the bad guy but that all depends on which side of the fence you sit on.  And to be fair, I've heard a lot from the Apple side of things (well, their fans anyway).

But in the last quarter, Nokia not only retained its smartphone market share as expected but actually grew at a faster clip than Apple.  And it also gained 5 points in the smartphone market from 35% to 40% n the fourth quarter.  During that time, Nokia sold 52.4 million smartphone phones will Apple sold a less than expected 8.7 million iPhones.

Apple's market share  shrank in the quarter relative to everyone else.  So, my question is has Nokia turned the corner?  Perhaps and it depends on how you look at it.  Over all, Nokia sold more phones than it did a year ago but its revenue dropped 5%.

Well, Nokia is holding its own.  Furthermore, it appears that Nokia is getting its house in order as it was surprised the last couple of years by the gains made by Apple's iPhone, Blackberries, and, of late, Android devices.

Still, it has quite a ways to go.  It had to match Google's free mapping and navigation with one of its own and it's online store, despite having a larger installed base, isn't drawing the kind of success Apple's iTunes app store is.

But I've noticed a lot of rumblings from Nokia lately.  In addition to free Ovi Navigation (Nokia's answer to Google Maps and Navigation), Symbian is now free for distribution.  This puts Nokia squarely on a collision course with Google And Android.

Going forward, Android is likely to make a lot of gains in the market as the hardware and software matures.

Frankly, this is good for the mobile market in general as there is plenty of room to grow.  After all, Apple sold a record number of iPhones and the market still managed to outsell the best that Apple has to offer.

More at CNet, Wireless Week.

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