Symbian and Microsoft have been battling for the smartphone market for the last several years. In most of the world's markets, Symbian is the clear winner, thanks in large part to its distribution through the world's biggest handset maker, Nokia (which currently owns 47.9% of Symbian).
So, why is there is such a gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world's smartphone market?
I sat down with Jerry Panagrossi, Vice President of U.S. Operations for Symbian, earlier today at 3GSM and asked him this very question.
Panagrossi said that most smartphone adoption in the U.S. is pushed through the enterprise (i.e. top-down). In most of these cases, the IT department opts to select either a BlackBerry or a Windows Mobile device, depending on the nature of the deployment.
In other global markets, smartphone adoption is a mixed consumer and enterprise affair. For example, China outsells the U.S. two-to-one in terms of smartphones.
On the push e-mail front, Panagrossi said that the Symbian platform offers users access to a variety of mobile e-mail systems, including Good, Visto, and even BlackBerry. This flexibility helps account for Symbian's global popularity.
And what about the iPhone? Symbian CEO Nigel Clifford today at 3GSM said his company welcomes the challenge from Apple.
Clifford said that he hopes the iPhone will help make the U.S. a bigger market for smartphones by making Americans aware of the fact that cell phones can be used to do more than just make phone calls and send e-mail.