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« Smartphones Bloodbath after Q1: Full Review of each brand and player | Main | Everything you ever wanted to know about mobile, but were afraid to ask »

May 26, 2010



I'm an Electrical Engineer and I had a real hard time keeping track of what you were talking about. All the figures and data you've splattered in this post overwhelm each other. Have you thought of maybe making graphs, tables, or pie charts to better illustrate your point? It would really help (some) readers to have visual references to refer to.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi ronin

Thank you. I hear you. Your concern is valid and I am sure there are many of our regular readers who would love that - in fact even I would love that, if somehow there could be graphs for the numerical arguments I make often on this blog.

But the point is, that I am not a professional blogger, this is not a news aite. This is a hobby blog site. I really only volunteer to bring stories here from time to time. And observe, we take no advertising here, so this is purely out of the goodness of my heart to share what I think my regular readers would be interested in.

And I have a full time job (I am a consultant to the industry and travel extensively). So I do the best I can - I am more a numbers and words oriented person. The main point is to get the idea out there, rather than for me to make it 'perfect' at this stage. I know the blogosphere is an excellent vehicle for taking rough ideas then collaborating to make them better.

I am most willing to let anyone take facts from my blog and turn them to graphs and illustrations - as many of my readers do from time to time - and I will then link to those as well. But I can't take the time to make this blogsite 'pretty' in illustrations, sorry. I appreciate the concern, I can only hope that others find the facts useful and turn them into pictures for those readers who are better at digesting facts in graphical form rather than text and numbers.

I do try to keep main themes separated by subtitles, and the individual points within the paragraphs, but yes, this was heavy in terms of numbers even by my standards haha. I am sorry about that. I really did not have the time to edit it for a day to make it better. I am sorry about that..

Thank you for visiting and commenting

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Mike F

This is the market share trap. it really doesn't matter except for pundits and speculative Wall St.

Until Android takes market share from Apple, it's kind of moot whether Android has x-percent or Nokia has it. Apple is wildly profitable with smaller market share. The same can't be true of everyone, particularly Google who has no direct revenue stream with Android.

Apple's model is based on the two-year service contract. Consumers hate it when their product is out of date shortly after buying. Their heads explode when it's out-right obsolete. Apple's development cycle and tight control over hardware, software, and developers offer a solid two-year road map where consumers can be current without breaking contracts or paying unsubsidized phones. I don't think this can be underestimated when the consumers figure it out Android isn't the iPhone.

Shortly device hardware should stabilize and it will all be about software anyway. Apple can pump out quality software as well or better as anyone.

Anders S. Løvlie

thanks for another great post! One thought: What do you think the chances are that Nokia would try to jump aboard and make a line of android devices? They could beat all the others at the game and be the biggest producer of android phones in the world - while still sell loads of symbian phones, and perhaps even continue experimenting with MeeGo. Or is that just my imagination running wild?


Hello Mike,

LOL funny to hear its only meant for Pundits or Speculators. It can also appeal to geeks or to people who follow tech news extensively or even to normal/occassional readers like me. Infact, the unique nature & content of the blog makes it distinguishing & much interesting as compared to millions scattered all over the web.

Coming to point, I agree with you on Apple being vastly profitable on account of business model it pursue's. Yes, many Apple customers are sick of two year contracts, but the underlying fact is I-Phone doesn't end up entirely obselete whereas its counterparts from other manufacturers vanish in few seasons. Several smartphone models on Android, Symbian, WinMo from 2009 have disappeared & apparently I-Phone still remains to be much talked smartphone. I myself invested in a Symbian smartphone in second quarter of 2009 & due to indifference from manufacturer for its model, it became obselete in under 3-4 quarters.

- Tomi

I believe you can add HTC as a manufacturer in Android space as from 2010 onwards, they have apparently shifted their thrust to Android from WinMo. To count share of Android as 23% without including HTC doesn't sounds convincing to me.


Hello Tommi,

I have been following your blog for quite some time now, and it is really an eye opener, I have learned a lot.

Now, something you say intrigues me, about making a career in mobile because it is the future. I am Systems Engineer, specialized in IT. So where do someone that wants to start a career should start? Any book or training I should take?

Fabio Sisinni

Success is not about market share. It is about profits. You should look at share of profits to really understand who is winning. Nokia is toasted with $88 ASP

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Mike F, Anders, Manu, Mario and Fabio

Thank you for the comments

Mike F - first on 'market share trap' - that is not true. This blogsite is not a smartphone site or a phone site or a mobile site. We specialize in social networking (which happens to be going to mobile) and digital convergence (which happens to be going to mobile) and digital media (which also happens to be going to mobile). Currently the hottest story in digital convergence and media is smartphones. For our readers, who tend to work for companies involved in digital media, digital business, social netwoking, digital convergence (and mobile) - it is VERY important to know which platforms are in the pockets of their customers or constituents or clients or patients or students or however they describe their 'audiences' haha. It is totally relevant to know that what was once the second biggest smartphone manufacturer, Palm, has fallen out of the Top 5, or the second biggest smartphone OS with almost a third of the global market, Windows Mobile, is now in 5th place with single digit size reach. These are very important to our readers - and often involve facts very VERY hard to find in the public domain, or badly distorted like the often quoted Admob stats which give a remarkably distorted view of the mobile world.

On the profitablity - please Mike F, note this is not an investor advice blog. We really don't care who makes the most profit (yes we do, but we are more curious than really care) - as long as the platform overall is viable ie it does make some sustainable profits - hence say Motorola dumbphones or Palm smartphones were not viable because they were making perennial losses. I have been very clear time and again, that Apple is the most profitable smartphone maker, but that does not alter the fact that of the world's 4 billion mobile phones in use worldwide, the installed base of still used iPhones (excluding the early 2G iPhones that now are no longer used) is exactly 1%. For our readership that is the critical number. On some Wall Street blog, the profit margin of Apple vs rivals is the relevant number, not here.

You say 'Apple's model is based on a 2 year service contract'. I understand that you have that view, it tells me you probably are US based. That is not Apple's view. It is AT&T's view the US exclusive dealer of the iPhone. In Italy or Belgium or Australia or Indonesia you can get an iPhone with no contractual commitment and replace it every year. Note customers in more advanced markets than the USA, tend to replace phones far more rapidly - in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong the replacement cycle is under a year, and for heavy users - those who would buy a smartphone - it is 6 months - they buy phones by the fashion cycles, which is why Japan and South Korea have new phone launches correlated with the fashion cycles of clothing brands. Yes, new phones are walked on the catwalks twice yearly, Autumn and Spring 'collections'

And if you think thats bizarre, we just heard last week that in the Arab Emirates the phone replacement cycles are as short as 2 months. So your iPhone is new in June and its 'out of fashion' already by August. Thats how fast its at the fastest replacement cycles. Apple prefers higher speeds than 2 years, it is AT&T (and many other exclusive iPhone carriers/operators) who wants a 2 year contract.

Anders S - no chance in h*ll haha. No chance whatsoever for Nokia to go Android. Not in this decade, no way no way no way. Nokia is by far the biggest handset maker - similar to how IBM was once in mainframe computers. Nokia learned lesson from Microsoft that the OS and software can be the big profits where moving boxes like IBM PC's were a poor business model - eventually IBM sold its PC unit to Lenovo (and has greatly increased IBM profits since then). Nokia knows these numbers and case histories. They believe strongly that they want to control the OS, and use their market size to that advantage. So as I have predicted that the bloodbath will get bloody ie damage profitability and push many rivals into making losses - witness how badly Lenovo was hurt already moving to smartphones - Nokia will be the last man standing among the big 5 legacy handset makers. They have far deeper pockets than Samsung and I could promise you that Samsung won't abandon Bada either, no matter how bloody the profit drain may become this year and leading into next year.

Because Nokia has invested in MeeGo, that is their open source Linux based future OS. No way would Nokia go Android. What Nokia COULD do, is join with Android, if Android was merged into MeeGo, (then it would never be called Android, but could be some kind of hybrid name of MeeAnd or something). Remember Nokia already tried this once with Symbian - inviting all of Nokia's rivals to build one shared smartphone platform for all - but the Americans didn't want to play ball, even as Motorola joined, Palm, RIM, Microsoft all refused to join (the Japanese even did, haha) and forced a smartphone OS war, which Symbian clearly won until Apple came along to launch a second world war in smartphones now, and now yes Android is the newest challenger haha...

So no chance whatsoever. Its either Symbian + MeeGo for Nokia for this decade, or perhaps MeeGo evolution into a merger with Android if Android/Google is willing to cede control ie some of that free ads based background of Android would need to go. I think Nokia would be more willing to partner - witness Intel with Meego - than Google abandoning its 'lock' on the fastest-growting smartphone OS today haha...

Manu - about HTC yes, the reason I excluded HTC is, that HTC is not a top 10 world's biggest phoen maker. They are too small, so yes, there are more - over 20 Android manufacturers already - but the rest are so small in global handsets, one percent or tiny fractions of that, that it didn't make sense to add. But yes, HTC has actually manufactured 70% of all Android phones made until the end of 2009, so I know, they are the early giant. But expect that to change soon..

Mario - join Forum Oxford, its free (also add comments there and add Forum Oxford on your CV). Then read my book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media (dont' read others of my books). After you have read it, write to me in email, and tell me what you find interesting, and I'll suggest further reading for you, and obviously I won't suggest most of my own books haha, but after you've read that, you'll have a better view of the big picture, where the money and opportunities are, and what part you want to pursue. If you want a good technical book consider Paul Golding's or Chetan Sharma's latest books. If you can afford it, you might come and take my 2 day course at Oxford University in mid October. The course is not expensive and hotels in Oxford are not too expensive, but I guess you'd need to fly in, so that may be an issue. If you come, stay for the week ending 15 October and take the Forum Oxford Conference on that Friday as well.

Also please watch my video from the Picnic conference at this link

Beyond that, absorb and read the book and get back to me in email, lets see what next.. Good luck, welcome to our industry, this is the fastest-growing sector in the global economy, by far the best career opportunity of this decade, very likely of our lifetimes..

Fabio - Nokia is not competing against Apple or RIM. Nokia main business is handsets, and its rivals are Samsung, LG, SonyEricsson, ZTE and Motorola. Nokia (like all rivals) is slowly migrating its giant customer base to smartphones. So firat, you can't compare Nokia to Apple or RIM in profits. You have to compare Nokia to Samsung, LG, ZTE, SonyEricsson and Motorola - who are making razor-thin profits or losses, Nokia has BY FAR the best profit margin of its main rivals. And Nokia is the only one who has a better market share in smartphones than dumbphones - so Nokia is not just more profitable than its rivals, it has also managed to migrate more of its legacy customer base to smartphones. Its far easier for a pure smartphone maker like RIM to make big profits, they have no dumbphones - or for what was a horribly thin-profit margin PC business like 'Apple Computer' which of course will get far better profits as it migrates poorly profitable PC busienss into much more profitable phones (and obviously at the top end smartphones) business.

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Matthew Artero

Regarding what Tomi wrote about Nokia's efforts to prevent/circumvent an OS war but those manufacturers that refused to join the effort forced the war…I wonder what historical event or literary work most closely resembles those events. Maybe when Native Americans failed to unite against Europeans or the League of Nations which was formed after WWI. Any other analogies?

As long as different manufacturers had different needs, wasn’t the Symbian open source move doomed to never be able to prevent a war?

I thought Nokia’s Symbian move was just to prolong the economic life of its chips. I had no idea that it was ever conceived as a way to prevent an OS war.

In order for it to have had any hope of preventing an OS war, Symbian would still need to show that it could offer manufacturers their highest market share over other OSs. I never saw that effort. I only saw an effort that said here is another reason to use Nokia chips rather than upgrade.

Alright so it didn’t prevent a war, but did Nokia at least profit from the effort? Tomi?


Thank you. I hear you. Your concern is valid and I am sure there are many of our regular readers who would love that - in fact even I would love that, if somehow there could be graphs for the numerical arguments I make often on this blog.

white iphone 4

Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!I'm still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

Henry Peise

Without the flash the white iPhone 4 is almost as bad as the 3G, but with a higher resolution. The worst phone in this test was the iPhone 3Gs with very bad low light performance.

iphone covers

I have recently started using the and I having some problems here? in your blog you stated that we need to enable write permissions on

orjin krem

Hello Tommi,

I have been following your blog for quite some time now, and it is really an eye opener, I have learned a lot.

Now, something you say intrigues me, about making a career in mobile because it is the future. I am Systems Engineer, specialized in IT. So where do someone that wants to start a career should start? Any book or training I should take?


Hello Tommi,

I have been following your blog for quite some time now, and it is really an eye opener, I have learned a lot.

Now, something you say intrigues me, about making a career in mobile because it is the future. I am Systems Engineer, specialized in IT. So where do someone that wants to start a career should start? Any book or training I should take?


So lets see how the numbers stack up, if Android grows every quarter by 54%. And lets assume that Noka would also manage to continue to grow at it

devlet hastaneleri

and its totally certain, Apple cannot recapture third place from Android during Q3. Apple needs to abandon its one new smartphone model per year strategy. Android has already 61 phone models in manufacturers it means that on average each rival maker offers 3 Android models.

tütüne son

Without the flash the white iPhone 4 is almost as bad as the 3G, but with a higher resolution. The worst phone in this test was the iPhone 3Gs with very bad low light performance.

doğal taş

ord of English, and no one speaking a word of german was another paradigm shift. Its going through

gelir vergisi

an unlikely scenario as currently its major handset makers have been doing their ramp-up, so the growth rate in total Android sales is likely

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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