Sony Ericsson abandons Symbian for Android and WP7

The Swedish-Japanese company has said it is turning to Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms, joining Samsung in a move away from developing further Symbian-based smartphones
Written by Rupert Goodwins, Contributor

Sony Ericsson has said it has no plans for future products based on Symbian, the Nokia-headed mobile operating system.

In an interview with Swedish technology publication NyTeknik (Google translation) on 22 September, Sony Ericsson's chief technology officer Jan Uddenfeldt said: "Android is definitely our focus, but we have not given up on Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, although it [was] a bit slow to take off. But Windows 7 Phone is on the map. However, we have at present no plans for new products with Symbian."

This follows Samsung's announcement on 2 September at the launch of its Android-based Galaxy Tab device that it was concentrating on Android and Bada, its own mobile operating system, and was not developing any further Symbian products.

"We are prioritising our Android platform. Android is very open and flexible, and there is a consumer demand for it," YH Lee, head of marketing at Samsung Mobile, told Reuters. "We are not seeing visible demand for Symbian."

The news comes as Symbian's owner Nokia sees declining share price and market share, disappointing sales of its most recent smartphones and major changes in the company's management.

On 9 September, Nokia appointed Stephen Elop, previously head of Microsoft's Office business unit, as the company's first non-Finnish chief executive, replacing Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Four days later, Anssi Vanjoki, head of mobile solutions at Nokia and number two in the company, said he was standing down just a little over two months in his new role.

Symbian's global market share has gone from 51 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to 41 percent in the same period of 2010, according to IDC. Meanwhile, Android grew from two to 17 percent over the same time. Gartner predicts the two platforms will both be at 30 percent by 2014.

Symbian remains strong in feature phones, but has not made much impact against Apple's iPhone and Android in the smartphone market. Nokia's flagship Symbian phone, the N97, received lacklustre reviews and disappointing sales. Its successor, the Nokia N8, which runs the latest version of Symbian — Symbian^3 — has seen delivery slip from the end of the third quarter of 2010 to October.

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