23 April 2002 Nokia has taken an early lead in the race to establish a worldwide standard for smartphone operating system software.
It shipped more mobile phones running its own Series 60 smartphone software in Europe than any of its rivals during the first quarter of 2003. The Finnish company shipped 631,000 Series 60-based smartphones and now accounts for 41% of the market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to figures from research company Canalys.
According to Canalys, Microsoft enjoys second place with a market share of 24% in the EMEA region, just ahead of Palm, with a market share of 19%.
Smartphone operating systems typically combine the functions of a handheld computer with those of a mobile phone and often include games and messaging applications.
Nokia’s Series 60 is built on top of Symbian’s mobile device operating system, both of which have been licensed to a number of other mobile phone manufacturers. Nokia was a founding shareholder in Symbian alongside Psion, Motorola and Ericsson.
Canalys estimates that Symbian-based phones accounted for 53% of the total market in Europe for the first quarter, compared with just 13% in the same quarter of 2002. However, despite their success in Europe, Nokia and Symbian phones lag behind sales of Palm-based phones and devices in the North American market.
Nokia hopes that cracking the enterprise mobility market — developing phones that enable office workers to access email and corporate applications remotely — will raise its profile further.
With this goal in mind, it announced the acquisition yesterday of privately held mobile software maker Eizel Technologies, which develops applications that transform intranet applications and email into a mobile-accessible format, for $21 million.