THE ONCE DOMINANT FORCE in the mobile phone market, Nokia has now seen its smartphone lead taken by Apple and its Iphones.
Figures from IDC show that Apple now has a market share of 21 per cent while Nokia has fallen to 20 per cent. Research in Motion (RIM), in third place, has 17 per cent of the market, while Samsung has 14 per cent and HTC 12 per cent.
Apple's lead might be slight, but let's remember that a few years ago it was as far removed from the smartphone market as you could get. Nokia meanwhile was sitting atop the market share rankings with 75 per cent of users back in 2005.
Things could change thanks to Nokia's introduction of its N9 phone that we covered yesterday. This has the Meego operating system, which is more interesting perhaps than Windows Phone, to which the Finnish phone maker has recently hitched its star.
"Nokia announced the N9 today, running the MeeGo interface, which is the best user interface that the firm has used in a smartphone to date," said Francisco Jeronimo, research manager for European mobile devices at IDC during a webinar.
"This is a good sign for Nokia and shows it is on the right track to compete with Apple and Android devices. The Windows Phone platform is also going to be one of the key players in the smartphone market and will help Nokia grow again."
However Nokia grows, and whatever number Iphone Apple is expected to release, it is Google and its Android operating system that will lead the smartphone software market, according to the analysts.
According to IDC, 42 per cent of handsets will run Android by 2015, Jeronimo said, while just 23 per cent will run Apple's IOS. Windows Phone will apparently compete with RIM's OS for third and fourth place.
Tablet takeup will also increase, of course, and although Apple will dominate sales in the short term Android is likely to curry favour with users and topple the IOS devices from their early lead. µ