The Guardian reported “industry insiders” saying the new touch-screen device is an attempt by the Finnish mobile phone giant to recapture its still dominant, but rapidly slumping market share.
However, there is no hard evidence or confirmed specs this is true, and a Nokia spokesperson said there was “Absolutely no truth to this whatsoever.”
Google’s Android is an open-source rival to Nokia’s Symbian software.
“Everyone knows that Symbian is our preferred platform for advanced mobile devices”, the spokesperson said.
While Nokia makes about 40% of all mobiles sold, the total mobile phone market is rapidly contracting, with smartphones the only growing sector.
Nokia’s market share of that sector has dropped from 47% of the global market in 2007, down to 35% last winter, and 31% at the end of last year, according to HSBC analysts.
Needless to say, Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry have been the primary benefactors of Nokia’s slump in smartphone market share, in large part due to a highly intuitive user-interface (Apple) and streamlined enterprise applications such as push-email (RIM).
Nokia’s aging Symbian software platform has arguably lagged behind Apple and RIM’s for the last three years, with even late-to-the-party Android having surpassed Symbian in phone OS popularity.
Personally, I seriously doubt that Nokia would ever go the Android way … but would I welcome the idea of a Nokia-built Android phone? You bet.
I’ve been playing around with the new, Symbian-powered N97 for about a week now, and I’m sorry, but Symbian is sure looking long in the tooth. Compared to the likes of the iPhone, WebOS on the Palm Pre, or the new Android-powered HTC Hero, the N97′s Symbian interface feels outdated and clunky, even with its touch-enabled homescreen widgets.
I love the hardware on Nokia’s phones—the N97′s 5-megapixel camera spanks the 3.2MP model on the new iPhone 3GS, for example—but the Symbian OS needs a major overhaul to compete with the latest touchscreen smartphones, especially here in the U.S. (where Symbian has yet to gain a serious foothold.)