According to ABI Research, Nokia still ranks first with a 56.4% share of the 70.9 million units shipped in 2006. Nokia sold 40 million smartphones in 2006, compared to 28.5 million in 2005. Motorola also had a strong 2006 and occupied the second position with 8.5% market share, driven by the success of its Linux-based devices in China, most notably the MING. At the same time, Symbian’s strong position in the smartphone operating system market is under continued and increasing threat.
ABI Research believes the key in differentiating smartphone products lies in the physical design and the look and feel of the user interface. The right combination of size, form factor, operating system, and bundled applications will determine the success of a smartphone. In addition, consumers are increasingly seeking smartphones that have touch screens, MP3 players, Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, fast processors, lots of memory, and an expansion card slot.
ABI Research’s new report, “Smartphones and the OS Market” found that there is a growing need to save on software bill of materials as handset ASPs continue to spiral downwards. This trend has been highlighted by Symbian’s decision to lower its license fees, and by an increasing interest in Linux. In 2006, Symbian was estimated to have a 73% share of the smartphone OS market. However, ABI forecasts that Symbian will to fall to 46% by 2012, due to strong competition from Linux and Windows Mobile.