updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed September 3, 2008
iPhone to Overtake Symbian
The current rate of growth for estimated iPhone sales may lead to its operating system being more popular than Symbian in as little as two years, according to projections based on both official and estimated data. Although Symbian reports 19.6 million cellphones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others having sold with its operating system installed during its last quarter, the figure represents a growth of just five percent versus the same time span a year ago and is much slower than estimated growth for Apple, which is thought to be manufacturing as many as 800,000 devices per week and may ship up to 10 million iPhone 3Gs between July and September, or more than half Symbian's tally despite being a young competitor.
Without significant changes in the growth rate from either Apple or Symbian, OS X iPhone in two years or less, according to the predictions from TechCrunch. Assuming Apple produces a 100 percent growth rate, which is deemed as "quite a challenge" but feasible, the company would overtake Symbian sometime during the summer 2010 quarter, with 38 million iPhones sold by the end of September that year versus 31 million for Symbian-based handsets. A more exponential growth rate of 300 percent would see Apple claim the lead as early as October 2009 with 30 million versus 26 million.
Relatively cautious estimates still see a change in the lead. A 50 percent sustained growth rate would have Apple outrun Symbian by September 2012, when 48 million iPhones would sell versus 46 million for phones using the Europe-made operating system.
The closure is possible both through Symbian's mature status, which makes it difficult for the OS to gain ground, as well as Apple's lower iPhone prices as well as expanded carrier support, which over most of the past year has been limited to just a few nations. In addition to the recently expanded list of 47 countries that sell the iPhone 3G as of press time, the American electronics designer is also set to expand to as many as 30 more areas where Symbian already does business, including a two-carrier Russian deal and a possibly finalized deal with China Mobile.