Nokia and Symbian, An Analysis of Today’s News

Nokia Opens Their Platform And Causes Industry Change

Today’s news about Nokia and Sybian joining forces is starting to sink in and people are beginning to question what it means for the mobile platform.

logoIn one fell swoop, Nokia has achieved what Google can only hope Android will be in 3-4 years. That is, Nokia has gained a widely adopted open source mobile operating system that has profound market share. To add to this, there is already a plethora of fantastic mobile applications written for Symbian as application developers have flocked to the platform over the past 10 years. The numbers vary widely depending on where you look, but as TechCrunchIT points out, Symbian currently carries roughly 60% of smartphone market share worldwide.

This, combined with the fact that industry heavyweights are behind the Symbian Foundation including carriers such as AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone. Also, handset makers LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson are on board as well. This is a wide ranging array of mobile bellweather companies, making Nokia and Sybian a force to be reckoned with.

However, in today’s mobile environment it doesn’t matter who supports what – platform success revolves around which mobile applications are most successful. Which platform will mobile application developers flock to? There are currently 4 main choices: Symbian, iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. Symbian has some gravity based on their market share, but will it be enough to effectively woo inspired developers creating the next great application?

The iPhone has been a game changer and will continue to be with the pending release of third-party applications and the Apple App Store. With the iPhone having an initial cost of $199, many new consumers will be adopting smartphones and expecting fun apps to enhance their experience.

My suggestion to Nokia would be to make their applications more available to consumers. Apple will make adding new applications to the iPhone easy with the app store, much like iTunes changed the music buying experience. Nokia needs to respond with a similar unified way of finding and consuming mobile software – with ease-of-use at the forefront of this effort.

How will Google respond to the Nokia acquisition? In what way will they make Android the application platform of choice? I believe they will use their Google mobile services as a magnet. On the other hand, Google has embraced the Symbian market also with native applications such as Google Search and Google Maps for Mobile. Will they continue to pump out applications for a competitive mobile OS? Om Malik thinks the move is aimed at Linux on Mobile, but I believe it’s also aimed squarely at Google’s Android, as well is LiMo.

The mobile industry is one that is primed for competition and excitement.