Nokia, Symbian still lead smartphone market, Gartner says

Nokia, Symbian still lead smartphone market, Gartner says

Summary: Gartner, an information technology research firm, has found that while Nokia and Symbian were still solid leaders in the smartphone market in 2009, they might have to watch their backs as Apple and RIM have gained some ground.


Gartner, an information technology research firm, has found that while Nokia and Symbian were still solid leaders in the smartphone market in 2009, they might have to watch their backs as Apple and RIM have gained some ground. In a recently published study, Nokia controlled 36.4% of the worldwide market share, but they might not be too comfortable though, the Finnish manufacturer saw a 2.2% loss. Samsung is in a distant second at 19.5%, but they've gained 3.2%, while Motorola and Sony Ericsson aren't looking so good with only 4.8% and 4.5% respectively after dropping considerably since 2008.

As far as smartphone sales go, Symbian leads by a lot at 46.9% of the market share - but that's 5.5% drop from 2008. Could this be the beginning of a serious slip? RIM and Apple's iPhone OS have both gained from last year, up to 19.9% and 14.4% from 16.6% and 8.2% respectively. Windows Mobile and Linux both saw drops. And while Android might not look like much down there at the bottom of the list, they've grown from 0.5% to 3.9% in a single year. We can only imagine what their figures might look after 2010.

[Images via Gartner]

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Hardware, IT Priorities, Nokia, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Android and Linux?

    Shouldn't you lump those two together for a combined market share of 8.6%? I thought Android was based on the Linux kernel? I could be wrong. It would not be the first time.
    • Re: Android and Linux?

      Linux is a kernel but Android is an OS built around the Linux Kernel.
      There is a difference. It's much like OS X is BSD UNIX with the MACH
      kernel .. but because all but the kernel are picked from BSD doesn't make
      it freeBSD, openBSD or netBSD ... or even BSDi. ;)
      • Thanks

        I have always understood that but was wondering why they did not just lump them together as Linux Distros with a possible caveat noting the Android distro showing the fastest growth? I mean give Linux the recognition it's due. Google did not code a completely new Phone OS as implied.
      • Android IS Linux!

        I don't know why people can't understand this. It's like saying Linux lost marketshare but Ubuntu gained. Or how about Windows lost marketshare but Windows Mobile gained? Sounds silly doesn't it?

        Android IS Linux as is WebOS and Maemo and Moblin and MeeGo and that thing Motorola did for a while. If you want to differentiate than say Android gained market share and other Linux mobile OS's like LiMo lost market share.

        The analogy of Mac OS X doesn't work. If you run Java apps on Windows it doesn't become something else. If you run Java apps on Linux it also doesn't become something else - it's still Linux. If I run a web gui on my Linksys router it's still Linux. Android is a bunch of Java apps running on Linux.
  • interesting that, taking into account what AboveAverageJoe says

    I agree Android is a Linux distro, so the only Smartphone
    OS to have actually shrunk in sales numbers is WinMo.

    Maybe Winmo7 will turn that around.

    It's also interesting to note that only 1 in 6 phones sold are
    smartphones. Overall sales of mobiles is slightly down,
    overall sales of smartphones slightly up.

    Personally I think the mobile phones are a bit saturated in
    the marketplace. There are over 4 billion of them on the
    planet (at least), more than 1 for every 2 humans, which
    considering the poverty of the average human, is amazing.

    Interesting to note that European and American manufacturers are
    being caned, and korean, and (I guess) Chinese manufacturers are
    roaring away. I have a chinese phone, my family have 2 other chinese
    phones, and 2 Sony Ericssons. The Sony's are the most awkward
    (poorest software). The chinese build quality is very good, CPU fast
    (fast bootup), battery life excellent despite this, and software never
    crashes, so quality is good.

    Can't imagine what it's like working for Nokia, however, making
    400million + phones per year. Wow!
    Must be exciting.
    • That also means...

      Most of Android's growth came from the Linux community and it really
      did not "grow" too much.
      • correct, although in terms of volume, linux volume is up.

        I'm completely uninterested in smartphones as regular phones are
        very smart these days.
        When you can browse the web, email, use skype, messenger,
        facebook, twitter, take photos, movies, edit movies, listen to MP3s on
        just about any phone, what does smartphone mean anyway??

        Most of the apps & games aren't really worthwhile anyway.

        The interesting thing is the "others". This means the chinese basically.
        If you hunt around chinese phone sites, you'll see they have incredible
        phones for sale for very little money. They even have better designs.
        (although they produce them in the same shapes as classic western
        phones like iphone if that is what you want).

        The best phone I've used is chinese. Good build quality, good software
        quality, most compatible JVM, lightweight but strong. Next time I get
        a phone, I'll probably get a chinese phone with dual sim, TV etc, for
        way way cheaper than anything made in the west.
  • RE: Nokia, Symbian still lead smartphone market, Gartner says

    I've had symbian phones consistently for about five years (N70, N73 and two N95s...) and to me the OS is starting to look a little frazzled. My phone contract ends in a few months and my next handset will be the first one that I've had that will have a touchscreen... At the moment I'm in a quandary. I'm leaning towards to the N97 just because I've really liked the Nokias I've had in the past... But I'm concerned about a touchscreen Symbian (heard the OS is glitchy on touchscreen). Equally, Android is something of an unknown quantity and doesn't really appeal. Not bothered about an iPhone... Genuinely don't think they have the functionality of the N95... So what's left? The N900 looks interesting but it's only available a few places in the UK... and it means stepping away from Symbian to a platform that's relatively untested at the moment.

    I think my situation sums up Nokia's problem... Symbian has reached he end of its lifespan... It must have if even a faithful adherent like me says so!

    So Nokia's next move marks a real cross roads for the company in my view.

    Maybe the next Maemo based phone will be the one?
    • borrow a touch phone first

      a lot of people hate them when they get them. No more single handed
      operation, always wiping smears off... seriously you may love it, but you
      may hate it.
  • RE: Nokia, Symbian still lead smartphone market, Gartner says

    It is ironic that Nokia's fall from marketshare leader will
    look very similar to the personal computers in the 1990's
    when Apple faded and Microsoft dominated.

    Nokia missed the paradigm shift that is smart phones and
    will remain strong only in lowest priced, emerging markets.
    I watched near by as Nokia panicked as the iPhone
    launched and they were still focused on e61 and e51
    handsets. They rushed "new" products to market so fast
    they had to rip features like SIP client from the initial
    firmware loads. And the App Store/iTunes online store
    totally confounded them.

    I doubt they can re-invent themselves like Apple did. I
    wonder where their IP will get merged into as they lose
    critical market mass?
  • RE: Nokia, Symbian still lead smartphone market, Gartner says

    What's Symbian's future? It's hard for anyone to say with any certainty but I bet it's going to be a significant segment for at least the next three years. I have a Nokia E71x, a Symbian-based smartphone, and it is simply a marvelous thing. The Symbian OS evolved to bridge the gap between handsets and smartphones. It still has a lot going for it: multithreading, graphics, APIs for GPS, Camera, etc. A lot also depends on whether engineers will build solid apps for it. Since Symbian's still the leader at close to half the market, as an app developer that's compelling enough for me to want to build apps for it.