Nokias fall from grace continues

It was once the global leader in the mobile phone market, but the rise of competitors such as Samsung, Apple and Google has seen Nokia’s grip on the sector reach a new low.

Research firm IDC claims that Korean tech giant Samsung has now become the leader in the ‘featurephone’ sector (basic devices that offer calls, texting and web access). In Q1 2010 Samsung sold 12.2m such devices in Western Europe, with Nokia selling just 9.1m – a year-on-year drop of 18 per cent.

Surprisingly, Nokia remains the smartphone leader in the territory with 4.9m units sold in the territory in the same period. This compares to 3m iPhones – though remember that while Nokia has a whole range of different smartphone options, Apple has just the iPhone.

In the same timeframe, RIM shifted 2.4m units and HTC 900k. Samsung’s smartphone performance leaves a little to be desired, however, with just 300k devices shifted.

However, Nokia’s future prospects in the smartphone sector look less pleasing. The latest YouGov Smartphone Mobile Internet Experience study shows a 12 per cent drop in consumers considering a Nokia the next time they upgrade their handsets.

Of current smartphone owners, 41 per cent expect their next handset to be an iPhone and only ten per cent expect it to be a Nokia. The lack of available apps and concerns about the Symbian OS were the main reasons cited.

Where Nokia once led the market, it has drastically fallen by the wayside,” YouGov’s technology and telecoms team research manager Russell Feldman stated. Its OVI store continues to be significantly outperformed by both Apple’s Apps store and Android Marketplace.

The results of our data consistently show that the market leader is fast becoming an also ran in the smartphone market. New products, software and apps are needed soon if Nokia is to keep up with its rivals.”

There’s no sign, though, that these numbers are making Nokia reconsider its strict allegiance to the Symbian platform, however.

I am committed, perhaps even obsessed, with getting Nokia back to being number one in high-end devices,” Nokia’s head of mobile solutions Anssi Vanjoki stated on the official Nokia blog.

Despite rumours to the contrary, there are no plans to introduce an Android device from Nokia. Symbian is our platform of choice for Nokia smartphones. Symbian has taken a lot of criticism lately – some of it fair, some not. But what is consistently overlooked is that Symbian still accounts for more than two-fifths of the global smartphone market.”

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