updated 01:25 pm EDT, Fri October 2, 2009
Juniper sees Symbian doubling in 5 years
The number of Symbian phones on the market should more than double in the next five years but won't have much of an impact on important rivals like the iPhone, a new study from Juniper Research said. Shipments should swell from 87 million phones from Nokia, Samsung and other Symbian supporters in 2009 to about 180 million by 2014. The expected increase is credited to a larger push towards partly or completely open-source code on phones. Combined with Android and LiMo (Linux Mobile) devices, about 223 million open-source devices should ship in 2014 as a result.
About 60 percent of the smartphone market alone already uses some kind of open-source plaform, Juniper added.
Cost and the ability to port code are considered the primary incentives for companies using the platform. Proprietary platforms like Windows Mobile are often expensive to license and cost as much as $10 per phone. Meanwhile, the lack of copy restrictions on the code lets companies like Nokia or Google reuse code on other projects and in some cases use the similarity to their marketing advantage.
Proprietary phone platforms are still believed to be healthy under this model but will primarily favor companies like Apple, which emphasizes software development above all else. Its apparent lead should lead to a "substantial" growth in market share and in 2009 expand significantly where many competitors are liable to shrink. However, it's warned that the pick of operating system may prove crucial for developers and that a swing in development towards either the iPhone or more open platforms like Android and Symbian could help dictate market share.