Symbian handset shipments to reach 180 million by 2014

Shipments of open source Symbian handsets are expected to more than double over the next five years, a new report from Juniper Research has found. However, the platform faces strong competition in a smartphone marketplace which is increasingly targeting consumers and prosumers as well as corporate customers, with the result that its overall market share will remain virtually unchanged over that period.

The Open Source OS report found that Symbian handset shipments were likely to reach 180 million by 2014, up from 87 million. This, allied to a steady increase in Android and LiMo shipments, will push the total open source handset market beyond 220 million by that time.

The Juniper Research report observed that while the developments by the LiMo Foundation, OHA and the Symbian foundation may suggest that the entire market is migrating towards opensource OS, Apple’s hugely popular iPhone product is in fact based on a proprietary operating system.

RIM (Research in Motion) Microsoft and Palm also utilise proprietary operating systems in their respective smartphone products. However, with over 60% of the smartphone market now using an open-source OS, there has still been a significant a shift in position from proprietary to open-source.

The report found that the move to open source OS has encouraged developers to design new and attractive applications, providing a massive opportunity for innovation in the mobile telecoms industry. However, with a sharp growth in handset shipments over the next five years together with somewhat more modest increases of handsets shipped with Windows Mobile and Blackberry platforms, the race is on for a growing share of the future smartphones OS market.

Other findings in the Open Source OS report include: Smartphones shipped with open source OS will increase from 106 million this year to 223 million by 2014; Choice of OS is now critical and market share will, to a large extent, follow application development.

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