Over half a billion Symbian phones sold?

| January 29, 2012 | 37 Replies

Following the stats of S40 reaching 1.5 BILLION, Steve Litchfield from AAS got to thinking, how much Symbian phones have been sold to date?  This was passed last Autumn apparently. Whilst this isn’t just Nokia, I would have thought that since Nokia does make up a significant bulk of Symbian, it makes the other sellers relatively negligible.

Another question Steve asks is how many are in use. Good question, that’s of most importance too, to see how many folks are using their Symbian handsets. Wasn’t there a report already that showed Symbian was top (was that based on mobile internet use? Via browser?). Steve’s estimations from 2006 to 2011 suggest around 400 Million still in use.

I wonder how many sales are to repeat customers? We know a lot of iOS sales turn out to be folks upgrading. I wonder how much of that occured/occurs with Symbian. I know at least for the fans of Nokia out there, you might each be able to open your own mini museum with your collection, but we aren’t the majority base user.

Random Sunday morning rant…

Whilst user base is good, something that plagues all these Symbian users is fragmentation. They aren’t all capable of running even 1 app across all platforms and since development was hard, it made it difficult for developers to jump on the platform. That’s why in 2008, we saw some pretty great looking iOS apps compared to what we had even a year later on the N97. (Fragmentation of course also caused Symbian development to be much slower than necessary, having to account for the plethora of variants and focusing more on reducing bugs as opposed to streamlinling and polishing features)

The answer eventually was to get Qt on board but even that didn’t really see the apps flow in prior to Feb 11. Who knows if it could have been in a different situation or if devs really just dismissed (and wrongly) the Symbian platform. I understand not liking S^3/Anna in UI terms compared to the other Mobile UIs, and that Belle was much too far away. It’s so much better on Belle, more consistent, more up to date and what we should have expected Nokia to deliver in 2009, 2010, not mid 2011 and not appearing as updates until Feb 2012.

Is Symbian or Qt dead? Of course not. If there are aspiring developers out there, make a good enough app and there’s a huge userbase to go and install your app. Lots of money to be made still. We might not be able to get the big names but they shouldn’t be the only source of content from Nokia Store.

Nokia on their own are still able to ship 20 Million Symbian units in the last quarter. And that’s of relatively unremarkable Symbian handsets (they’re good for their intended audience I guess). Imagine if Nokia actually bothered in 2011 and brought us an actual flagship class handset? (Like seriously, no Symbian phone launched in 2011 could have been considered a flagship…and since Nokia notoriously takes years to develop a phone, was this what they had planned for 2011 anyway? A bunch of mediocres? I think some people deserve a slap if that’s the case).

Symbian won’t be alone to pick up on Qt. Think of the power Nokia has to ship S40 devices. Realise how much power they already have with 1GHz. Nearly 100M was sold last quarter. Imagine if through Meltemi, S40 as we know it with Swipe and Qt transitioned to a smartphone? That would be of an utmost disruption, no? 37M Apple smartphones is great in one quarter – they beat the 28M record of Nokia, good job. But 120M+ in one quarter, with just smartphones? There’s a strong opportunity for Nokia to do that, but taking opportunities and Nokia doesn’t go hand in hand. They seem to like to give away advantage, take time so that good ideas are implemented by others, just plain fails at execution. You know the deal if you’ve been following Nokia for a while. Even now with WP, a lot of the things that could have been achieved aren’t. It’s like since the N95 they’ve just decided to be mediocre as a whole. Glimpses of brilliance but any time it’s there, “let’s shut it down, we don’t want to make it too hard for the competition”.

Nokia isn’t just transitioning from to different OSes, they’re changing internally too. One of the things we should hopefully be seeing is quicker reaction times to things happening in the market (the quick production of Lumias as an example and their quick launch) but hopefully Nokia won’t just be reacting any more, but causing disruptions. You would have thought that after a January launch, Nokia would get those phones out in February not March. It’s still good by Nokia standards though but not good enough as we know Nokia’s standards are turning out to be subpar.

Sorry for the moan.


Thanks Yasu for the tip.



Category: Nokia, Symbian

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]