People have been counting out Microsoft and Nokia over the last year or two as Google Android, Palm webOS, and Apple iPhone operating systems have been showing how you can bring a fantastic user experience to the smartphone. Nokia is still the worldwide leader by a large margin and Microsoft has been fairly strong in the enterprise market. At the start of MWC this year we saw both Nokia and then Microsoft showing they are still very much in the game and can bring experience to the smartphone that may even beat anything else currently out there.
Nokia's upcoming Symbian operating system (this is the new Symbian folks) builds upon their previous platform with a better user interface. I know Nokia smartphones are not popular here in the US, but they are rock solid phones with amazing capabilities and now that Symbian^3 shows the start of a great user experience Nokia should continue to maintain their huge worldwide market share. There wasn't as much excitement around Nokia's Symbian^3 demonstrations as there were for Microsoft, but that doesn't mean this updated OS is not as exciting.
Microsoft hit it out of the park with their Windows Phone 7 Series announcement and showed that they can scrap the whole idea of bringing your PC to a handheld and actually create an innovative and exciting smartphone platform. Some may not like the clean break from older Windows Mobile platforms, but it needed to be done to move forward and I applaud Microsoft for finally taking this step forward. As a long time fan of the Windows Mobile platform I am very excited to see Windows Phone 7 Series devices launch as soon as possible.
These two announcements show that Apple needs to step up its game and while it shocked the industry in 2007 the iPhone OS is no longer alone in giving users a fantastic experience. 2010 will be an exciting year in the smartphone industry and actually RIM has the last remaining operating system that needs to improve the user experience.