Why Android is now beating Symbian globally

Vendor endorsements and general slowdown in rivals' development efforts are giving Android the edge.

Android has surged past Symbian to become the world's best-selling smartphone operating system, according to Canalys.

While this development might be no surprise to folks in the United States, where Symbian smartphones are virtually nonexistent, Nokia's platform is still a global powerhouse with 30.6 per cent of the market (and in fact, sales are still growing despite the loss in market share). Here are a few reasons Android now dominates not only in the United States, but around the world:

Vendors Pick Android

Last October, Samsung dropped developer support for Symbian phones, and Sony Ericsson abandoned the platform completely. Aside from Nokia, that leaves Sharp and Fujitsu, whose upcoming Symbian phones only cover the Japanese market.

Meanwhile, Samsung has sold more than 3 million Galaxy S Android phones in the United States alone, and even though Sony Ericsson hasn't struck gold with Android yet, it has two promising phones ahead in the Xperia Arc and Xperia Play.

Slow Pace at Nokia

Timing wasn't Nokia's strong suit in 2010. The company's flagship Symbian phone, the N8, was announced in April, felt stale by June and didn't ship until late September. Nokia isn't moving fast enough to keep up with the smartphone market's breakneck pace.

Symbian's Second-Tier Standing

Even Nokia is no longer interested in Symbian for its high-end handsets. In late 2009, the company announced that its most expensive smartphones will use Maemo, a platform that later became MeeGo in conjunction with Intel but still hasn't appeared in a commercially-available product. Android, on the other hand, supports cheap handsets in addition to flagship models, so it can accommodate more of the market.

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Tags Ericssonconsumer electronicssymbiansharpPhonesNokiaAndroidsonyFujitsu

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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