Android pulls ahead of Symbian in Indian smartphone market

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NEW DELHI: The fresh numbers from India’s phone market are in and it’s not looking too good for Nokia’s Symbian smartphones. According to IDC, a market research firm, the data for Q3 this year shows that Android, which is used by companies like Samsung and Sony Ericsson, has beaten Symbian in Indian smartphone market. 
“From an operating system (OS) perspective, Android overtook Symbian to emerge as the top platform in India for the first time, with a share of 42.4% of the smartphone market,” G Rajeev, lead analyst at IDC. 
“Overall, smartphones shipment for the India market showed an impressive growth of 21.4% over the previous quarter and 51.5% year-on-year. This helped the segment grow its contribution to the mobile phone shipment to 6.5% in Q3 from 5.6% in Q2,” added Rajiv. 
Nokia, which uses Symbian in its high-end smartphones, has struggled to make headway against Apple’s iPhone and Android-powered phones in this highly lucrative segment. Earlier this year its CEO, Stephen Elop, described Symbian as burning platform and decided to join hands with Microsoft for the company’s software needs. 
Lumia 800, a handset that the firm is currently shipping to retailers in India, is Nokia’s first smartphone running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft too is struggling against iPhone and Android but hopes with the reach and channel of companies like Nokia it will be able to improve the situation by the end of 2012. 
According to IDC, Android saw a growth of 90% over the previous quarter. Apple iOS consolidated further, with a 3.09% share of the smartphone market, compared to 2.6% in Q2 2011. 
IDC said that overall Indian mobile phone market grew by 12% in units shipped, over the previous quarter, to clock 47.07 million units. Year-on-year, there was a shipment growth of 13.8%. 
“The mobile phone shipments witnessed a spurt, as vendors built channel inventories ahead of a long festival season. Dual-SIM handset shipments were notable with a sequential growth of 25.2% over the previous quarter,” said Deepak Kumar, research director at IDC. 
The quarter gave both Nokia and Samsung – top two players – something to cheer about. While Nokia grew its share of overall mobile phone shipments in Q3 by 6.8% over the previous quarter, Samsung succeeded in increasing its smartphone shipment share by 5% over the same period. 
Overall, Nokia had 31.8% of the mobile phones shipment share in the Q3, followed by Samsung at 17.5%. In the smartphone segment, Nokia led with a shipment share of 35.3%, but Samsung came closer at 26%. 
“The slowdown of Nokia’s smartphones shipment is in line with the expectations, that it would be prepping to transition some of its market share from Symbian to Windows,” said Deepak.