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Nokia and Symbian Rule Smartphone Market

Nokia has been ranked at the top of the latest global "Smartphone Vendor Matrix" released by ABI Research. Motorola and RIM (Research in Motion) claimed the second and third spots in ABI's most recent evaluation of worldwide smartphone vendors.

I find this latest insight of particular interest, given that ABI also recently reported that Nokia continues to have a modest relative share of the North American market. Again, the implication, Nokia is gaining market share in most of the mobile service growth markets, which seems to make its shortcomings in the U.S. market -- in particular -- a moot point.

The Vendor Matrix is an analytical tool developed by ABI Research to provide a clear understanding of vendor positions in specific markets.

ABI evaluates vendors on the basis of Innovation and Implementation by selecting multiple criteria related to product/company characteristics. Upon evaluation, vendors are assigned numerical scores that are aggregated and analyzed to provide overall rankings.

According to industry analyst Shailendra Pandey, "Nokia leads the global smartphone market, enjoying a market share of over 56 percent share in 2006."

Nokia's strength also ensures the leading position of Symbian in the mobile OS market. Motorola, RIM, and Sony Ericsson match Nokia in terms of product innovation, but lag behind in implementation and marketing execution -- for example on parameters such as total shipments, and extensive distribution networks.

In North America, however, Nokia trails Palm and RIM which together hold more than two-thirds of the market through their sales of Treo and BlackBerry devices.

For this particular matrix, under "innovation," ABI examined user interface customization, patent portfolio, handset differentiation, battery life, handset size, support for third party application developers, common and concise API, and OS source code licenses.

Under "implementation," ABI scrutinized smartphone shipments brand equity, choice of OS, number of smartphone models, whether the vendor was first to market, distribution network, smartphone market share, smartphone ASP, operator relationships, ODM partnerships, manufacturing facilities, overall handset ASP, and overall handset market share.

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