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Summary:

If you can’t quite understand why it is that Symbian is still continuing to occupy a strong position in the overall worldwide smartphone mar…

Nokia Mobile Spain Ad
photo: mallol via Flickr

If you can’t quite understand why it is that Symbian is still continuing to occupy a strong position in the overall worldwide smartphone market rankings — despite all of Nokia’s problems, and despite its near absence in particular markets like the U.S. — look no further than Spain.

In some research that Nielsen is releasing today, the analysts note that in Spain, Nokia’s Symbian OS has a commanding lead among smartphone operating systems, at 65 percent.

Although Nielsen does note that it appears to be in decline — it’s down nine percent since Q4 2010 — the next-most popular OSs are still a fair way behind: it’s Android and Apple’s iOS tied at nine percent each. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) at the moment is growing slower than Android, at three precent and seven percent, respectively.

Nielsen notes that nearly 40 percent of Spanish mobile subscribers are using smartphones now. That makes it one of the most-penetrated markets in Europe.

But within that group of smartphone users, only about 41 percent of them are actually using mobile internet services. (That is a much higher number than on featurephones, where only 10 percent of owners are regularly accessing the mobile web.)

Nielsen notes that currently the most popular type of content being accessed is related to social media: 44 percent of all users who accessed the mobile web in the last 30 days went to a social networking site; maps were the second-highest category at 34 percent. That makes an interesting, if confusing, contrast with recent figures released by the analytics company Flurry, which noted that when it comes to apps, in Spain, games are by far the most popular category of content.

What to take away from this? Well, if Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) are hoping that their current market strength, such as it is, will help lift up sales for the new Nokia devices, then they will need to move quick to get their new handsets out. Spain is a great example of where you can imagine them doing well, but only if those users don’t all defect to Android before Finland gets the lead out.

Meanwhile, the relatively high use of mobile internet and content services is a strong sign to those publishers working mainly in English of a big potential market: something that we saw Zynga acting on yesterday with the launch of its multilingual CityVille mobile game.

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  1. Hello Ingrid,

    In Spain, that strong position is occupied by Nokia, more than by Symbian OS. People buy Nokia devices because they trust the brand. The fact that they come with Symbian and this way that OS leads the Spanish market is a “side effect”.

    I’m a happy user of a SGS with Android since a few months ago. When my father asked me to find a new mobile for him I was unable to convince him to change his Nokia. He wants a modern device, with all the new features, but Nokia. He doesn’t know if it comes with Symbian or any other OS. He doesn’t matter.

    I’m thinking about recommending him a N800 or N900 (with Maemo or Meego). But I’m not sure if it will be too messy for him…

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