I genuinely believe there will be a lot of interesting developments in the mobile industry during the next 5 years that will come from a number of innovative startups, but it’s hard not to get equally excited about the power play between the main vendors and mobile OS distributors.
I’m looking forward to the competition between Apple / iPhone / App Store, Google with the massively potential Android (and “Chrome for Mobile”?), Microsoft with its large Windows Mobile market share and its upcoming Skymarket application store, and not to mention Nokia with its huge bet on Symbian.
Nokia announced about two months ago that it intended to fully acquire Symbian for €264 million (or $410 million) and turn the software over to the Symbian Foundation. This is a group of nearly 30 companies including AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Vodafone that seeks to turn Symbian into a royalty-free mobile software platform focused on converged communications.
The Nokia / Symbian acquisition has now come (almost) full circle with Samsung backing out and selling its stake to the Finnish mobile giant.
And the numbers are looking good for Symbian too: during the second quarter, Symbian launched on 19.6 million devices, up just 5 percent from 18.7 million for the same period the year before. Symbian also reported that it had 92 phone models in development (the highest ever achieved), an increase of 48 percent on the 62 models in development during Q2 2007.
Exciting times, indeed.