Symbian’s Death – Imminent or a Desperate Hoax shoutout?

For sometime now, there’s been a lot of buzz on the internet about Symbian’s future. Some say it is about to die sooner than later while some say its uncertain. Well, future is the most uncertain, but then, things ain’t so uncertain as they are being made to be. I make an attempt to clear some of the confusion, taking a low down on the various OSs – number of devices that run on Symbian and Android, and iOS for reference, and an unbiased perspective from a Symbian user’s point of view.

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In the past few days, Nokia has been creating a lot of buzz, both for reasons desirable and undesirable. While it has done a world of good to itself with the N8 and other S^3..errm, Symbian devices, its decision to sack 1800 employees yesterday hasn’t quite gone down too well with many, it is purely a management decision – disguised unemployment is a big, big disadvantage. Hence, the decision should be taken in a positive way.

Again, the management at Nokia is being revamped. People from outside are being included and the ageing, old ones are going out. While this certainly doesn’t sound very good at first, it is needed. A big organization like Nokia needs to evolve continuously and fresh faces are introduced from time to time to make sure that the organization does not face crisis – in this case, burying itself deep into it. Nokia’s comeback has been contemplated for quite some time now, and people are anxiously waiting to see where/how it goes. In such a situation, people are bound to get those people on board who can rescue them, so, Nokia is helping itself. Although the public needs to trust that the decision is a wise one, they’re being eluded by the iBoys (ya’ll know what I want to say, eh?). No, we have nothing against anyone, but then, truth prevails. Some sponsored websites have further added to the illusion. Bashing at the wonderful N8 is not something that one would expect from these sites. Yet they’ve done that, and that is quintessential to continue the sponsorship they receive.

Coming back to the ‘sacking saga’, I’ve read on some sites that Tim Holbrow has been appointed as the executive director of The Symbian Foundation in place of Lee Williams to wind up the business. And according to a Gartner report, Android OS will pip Symbian to No. 2 spot. While spots are important, its nothing surprising. These things are being talked about ever since iOS and Android have come into existence. In a highly competitive market like mobile industry, the share of The market leader is bound to fall. Atleast that’s what we’ve been taught at school (yes, I still believe my teachers).

This is what is happening exactly with Nokia and Symbian. This is nothing more than applying basic principles of Economics and Management. Nokia was a virtual monopoly initially when there was no iOS or Android. The situation is not the same now. Android is a great OS and that justifies its 17% market share in just a couple of years of existence. Also, one needs to consider the fact that it is from Google.

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As far as iOS is concerned, its nothing much more than mere eye-candy. Power users are bound to be disappointed. I was, when i used an iPhone. Even now, there’s no real multitasking on it. Symbian has a great multitasking prowess and its been doing that for a long, long time. The eye candy is one thing that has attracted people to iOS and yes, the developers too. What Symbian needs is more eye candy. And one thing that has to be noted is that iOS is what it is today because it has been treated like a kid by Mr. Jobs – like a person protects his kid, so is iOS – no multitasking, super restrictive terms.. this is something where both Android and Symbian score points over iOS. And yes, there’s some sense why iOS is protected – its pretty weak from the core. Okay, lets not delve on such things.. Lets get down to digest some facts.

In the number of “smart mobile device” sales, Symbian devices are the market leaders. Statistics published for the second quarter of 2010 showed that Symbian devices comprised a 41.2% share of smart mobile devices sold, Android having 17.2%, and iOS having 15.1%.

The shipment volume of Symbian devices grew 4.8%, from 74.9 million units to 78.5 million units. From Q2 2009 to Q2 2010, the shipment volume of Symbian devices grew 41.5%, by 8.0 million units, compared with an increase of 9.6 million units for Android and 3.2 million units for Apple.

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While this certainly shows who the leader is, it certainly should make you clear what we want to emphasize. Symbian’s not dying, iOS ain’t taking over, and the speculation must come to an end. As a matter of fact, any rational businessman would not wind up his business where he controls almost half of the market, will he? Let the speculation RIP and may the Almighty give judgmental abilities to the desperados.

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Posted by Wordmobi