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Nokia Regains 40% Mobile Phone Market Share

Gordon Kelly


Nokia Regains 40% Mobile Phone Market Share

No-one saw this coming...

Following dull phone after dull phone (with the odd exception), Nokia has suddenly posted monstrous profits and marketshare gains in its Q4 results this week.

Highlights are a 65 per cent leap in net income to 948m euros on Q4 2008 plus a (proportionately) huge increase in industry mobile phone marketshare, jumping from 35 per cent just last quarter to near its best ever holding at exactly 40 per cent. Handset sales? That was a massive 126.9m units in three months - which should put into perspective the total iPhone sales of circa 20m in three years.

"Our focus remains firmly on execution, especially around user experience," said Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. "Here I want to highlight our move to shake up the navigation market with free walk and drive navigation on our smartphones, a good example of how we are leveraging our assets to bring real benefits to consumers."

I'll admit, making turn-by-turn Ovi Maps free was an excellent idea (if one already pulled by Google in Android - to a much more limited scale), but I'd rather see Nokia talk-up actual smartphone OS navigation than directions. Symbian still lacks a decent touchscreen interface and while Maemo in the N900 (pictured) shows promise the company seems strangely cautious of rolling it out on other less humongous models.

Then again, based on these figures, what do I know...?!


Nokia Official Press Release


January 29, 2010, 5:16 am

I admit I'm a bit surprised - I expected Nokia to hold level or improve slightly over Xmas but this is massive.

However, its not entirely unexpected - Nokia have made it clear that they see domination of the low to mid tier as crucial (the logic being that high end goes according to fashion and sometimes you're in, other times you're out but the middle is for keeps).

Bottom line is that most people seem to prefer a cheaper phone that does what they need than a more expensive one with bells and whistles. Plus, of course, S60v5 seems to be very well received by the public even if the tech press don't quite get it.


January 29, 2010, 6:01 am

127 million handsets in 12 weeks for Nokia Vrs 20 million in 3 years for Apple.

Holy cow, stack 'em high, sell 'em low seems to be working well for Nokia. And with product cycles that short and with that sort of turn over, I expect nothing less that little miracles from Nokia in terms of a fantastic UI experience and top notch hardware in 2010.


January 29, 2010, 6:33 am

Great news! I came back to Nokia after a 10 year absence purchasing the N900 in November 2009 and am very very impressed with what they are doing here. If they can integrate Maemo OS into future handsets this market share will only increase...

Martin Daler

January 29, 2010, 1:23 pm

@Gordon "Then again, based on these figures, what do I know...?! "

That's a very honest comment!


January 29, 2010, 1:40 pm


Maemo5 isn't quite ready for mass consumption I'd say. My current impression is the N900 couldn't really function comfortably without the Keyboard. Maemo6 should be quite good though, as long as they stay on track. In fact, I'd probably love an iPad running Maemo6, but that's just a wild guess. I'm just really looking forward to the Flash10 update so that the iPlayer hopefully works smoothly.

Biggest sellers for Nokia are still probably the E71 and 5800 :).


January 29, 2010, 2:12 pm

Complete domination of the Smartphone market but nearly every useful app is for the iPhone followed by Android. Seems crazy to me, but i'm probably just bitter because I have a N97.

I really hope all the iSheeep see the emperor isn't wearing any clothes soon, hopefully the ridiculous iPad helps that along.


January 29, 2010, 4:50 pm

I have high expectations from the Symbian^4 device from Nokia. It is expected to have a new UI, which with all the technical maturity of the underlying Symbian platform should make for a really good smart phone.

Chris Beach

January 29, 2010, 5:21 pm

I think all Nokia really need to do is the seperation more clear...have the low and middle end flooded with multiple devices with minor feature differences.

But they need fewer high end. N-Series was good, until it exploded with hundreds of phones in a short timespan with nothing to indicate which was the flagship.

I would move the E-Series down a level, and make the N-'s special.

One or 2 N-Series, with 4/5 corresponding E-Series (and lower).

Also support the devices properly, with carrier lockins we can't upgrade to the latest handset just because Nokia can't be arsed to fix the bugs and support the one the released last month.

Mad Iguana

January 29, 2010, 5:30 pm

Just recently got a(n) N97 Mini, and I think it's an excellent piece of kit. I haven't got an iPhone or a Pre or a Nexus, but I could've got one of those (well, not the Nexus since it's not available in Ireland yet), but didn't.

Like most people who aren't tech journalists or mobile phone collecting geeks, I want a phone that works and is reliable, and haven't had the opportunity to compare all of the various options out there (and by compare, I mean having the phone operational and in my hands for a week or so).

As a result, I'm used to the Symbian OS and I know how it works and feel comfortable with it, so I love the Nokia smartphones.

It may be that other OSes are better, but without the luxury of writing for a tech website, I believe I know what works for me, which is why I like to buy Nokia.

And it seems that there are hundreds of millions of others like me out there.

In short, in reply to "What do I know?", I think the answer is "Too much"!


January 29, 2010, 5:34 pm

Hmmm, that's quite a huge blow for the TR review team who seem to drool over anything with the Apple badge and dislike everything else!! In your reviews, you give the impression that everything Apple does is oh so wonderful, while all other companies never get it quite right. Turns out the majority of consumers think differently.

Seriously, Apple does some great products, but in most of your reviews, the constant comparison of everything to Apple products is too much. Nokia is an example of a company producing equally capable devices at significantly lower prices than Apple. And getting the hardware right is equally important to the flashy software.


January 29, 2010, 5:36 pm

@Mad Iguana - let me paraphrase: you haven't tried, nor know what alternatives are like, but you are confident you made the right choice in buying an N97 Mini and love your phone

So the value of reviews to you are? ;)


January 29, 2010, 5:38 pm

@GMC - bless your Apple stereotyping and flame war attempts, so cute!

PS - don't ever make the mistake of confusing popularity with quality. Otherwise Michael Bay should have a cabinet full of Oscars by now...

Mad Iguana

January 29, 2010, 6:02 pm

Reviews are valuable, but if I think that the drawbacks highlighted are not relevant to me, then I will discount them. That's what opinions are all about, right?

I read the review of the N97 mini, and the main drawback that I could see was that you guys didn't like the OS.

I, on the other hand, quite like the Symbian OS, because it allows me to do all the things I want to do, so I didn't think that criticism was relevant to me, and as I liked the other elements of the phone, I thought I'd get it anyway.

For example, I wanted a qwerty keyboard; I wanted a memory card slot; I wanted a large screen; I like the Symian OS. What phone do you think I should have bought?

I'm not sure if you're implying that I'm supposed to blindly buy exactly the phones that you recommend and that is the only value of a review?

My only point was - in answer to your question - that it seems that tech reviewers (especially those that have written off Nokia as irrelevant in the past) forget that not everyone out there has the luxury of having every single device in their hands and may make compromises to get exactly what they want, and Nokia are very good at supplying that market - the one in the real world.


January 29, 2010, 6:34 pm

People like buttons and Nokia make great phones with buttons. Touch may be here to stay or it may turn out to be a fad, who knows for sure. But for the moment it would appear that Nokia's immature attempts at a touch interface are not hurting them a great deal.



January 29, 2010, 6:47 pm

@Mad Iguana - technically our role is to have every single device in our hands to help you out with this. I'd personally have steered well clear of Symbian, at least in its current form.

To address ILoveGagdets at the same time: touchscreens get a terrible rep since they are generally implemented very poorly. Those without the budget for an iPhone go out and buy something that 'looks' the same, get an awful touchscreen experience and damn touchscreen technology across the board. Touch is here to stay, it just has to get much better at the low end of the market. When done well it means users can do away with a physical keyboard, get a much larger screen to view, have a slimmer and lighter device and benefit from the flexibility of a soft keyboard.

Back to Mad Iguana: I'd have gone for something like the HTC Hero. Symbian may be what you know, but surely half the joy of technology is embracing new ideas and breakthroughs?

Mad Iguana

January 29, 2010, 6:56 pm

Thanks for the reply Gordon - i was a little perturbed by your first reply, because I thought it was a bit too flippant and kinda rude, but I'm glad that the second one appears a bit more considered.

I hadn't come on here to try to defend my decision - I'm glad of the phone I bought and I accept that other options may be better or worse, but given the choice that was available to me (and on contract in Ireland that's fairly limited, unfortunately - and I'm not getting an unsubsidised phone since - again, in Ireland - there is no significant discount in the monthly tariff cost, but that's beside the point), I'm happy with what I got.

The reason I came on to post was to volunteer an answer to your (somewhat flippant) question (and one that it seems you don't really want an answer to) "What do I know". The answer, as far as I can see it, is "Lots, but sometimes that's not actually relevant to the people buying the phone. Because of opinions and needs being different"


January 29, 2010, 7:09 pm

@Gordon - "Touch is here to stay"...Is it? and you know that how? Yes, you may think it is for the reasons you state, but without starting a touch/no-touch argument, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and as I said, no-one knows for sure - even you.



January 29, 2010, 7:15 pm

@Mad Iguana - I think you misinterpreted the tone of my first reply. Not sure what you mean by the 'What do I know' reference, but I'm glad you like the N97 Mini and that come upgrade time Ireland will have a slightly wider array of choices for you to try.

If possibly, it is always a good idea to go to a highstreet retailer where you can test out different models and see what does/doesn't appeal to your particular needs.

@ILoveGadgets - I know for sure. Betcha ;)


January 29, 2010, 7:28 pm

It's obviously just personal opinion but I find it amazing that anyone would spend money on a phone that doesn't multitask never mind its other glaring flaws. It's ludicrous in my eyes and there is no way to way to make it sound better.

But then the same people will now spend even more on a bigger version of the same thing with half already very limited features removed. It just blows my mind to be honest and says a lot about the world we live in these days.

Mad Iguana

January 29, 2010, 7:52 pm

This is my final comment, and it's just that the "What do I know" reference was the last thing that you wrote in the original article.


January 29, 2010, 7:54 pm

@Mad Iguana - Ahh, fair enough. Thanks for the clarification!


January 29, 2010, 8:25 pm

I found Symbian worked well on an N95 8GB, and was extremely happy with it as a phone. Never tempted to get an iphone or other touchphone, but got an N900 this month and am really happy with it.


January 29, 2010, 9:57 pm

I don't know why there so much argument over whether "touch is here to stay". No problem with it staying, but you can also say for certain that "buttons are not on their way out".

As for a Hero instead of an N97, not sure what to say about that, except that if you want constant memory problems, go ahead. Also good luck finding a 'close' button as Android doesn't have one. Which is stupid, whatever Google say.

Oh and

@GMIC: Getting the hardware right eh? I'm afraid the N96 was a large misstep by Nokia...

@Kaurisol: Good isn't it :). Just watch the battery...


January 29, 2010, 11:04 pm

@Gordon: that was constructive criticism. I still visit TR website daily and read your reviews (especially Cliff Smith's reviews on cameras & photography). Popularity can be a measure of quality, most common mortals are able to discern quality and don't throw away their money.

@drdark: once in a blue moon even the best companies produce a flawed product, that doesn't mean all they do is crap. How about e.g. poor call quality on the iPhone?


January 30, 2010, 1:44 am

@GMIC: Oh, just in case I gave the wrong impression, I'm a Nokia fan, just the N96 still stands out in my mind for "what the f*** is this"-ness. I've always owned Nokias save for one 15month period when I had an LG because it was attached to a ridiculously good tariff. Then it broke in half, so now I'm back to Nokia :).

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