Smartphone capability analyzer: 1Q10 update

Smartphone capability analyzer: 1Q10 update

Tim Renowden/Ovum
OvumThe latest update of Ovum’s Smartphone Capability Analyzer reveals some interesting developments in the smartphone market. In this quarter the rise of Android continues; Nokia announces a new high-end device, but delays it until 3Q10; widgets become more popular; and Intel is preparing to re-enter the smartphone market with its Moorestown hardware platform. HTC is now the manufacturer with the most individual models (20); Nokia is second with 17 and Samsung is third with 11.
 
The Android army marches onward
Android handsets are proliferating: from four handsets in 3Q09, to 13 in 4Q09, and now 21 in 1Q10 from eight manufacturers. Some of this growth in support seems to be at the expense of Windows Mobile (which has shrunk from 40 handsets in 1Q09 to 27 handsets in the current report) and Symbian (26 handsets in 1Q09; 19 in 1Q10) as the likes of Samsung, LG, and Motorola shift their focus.
 
The majority of current Android handsets are based on Qualcomm MSM7-series ARM11 chipsets, but newer handsets are a blend of Snapdragon and TI OMAP3 platforms – a trend that will continue for much of 2010. HTC, which produces the widest range of Android handsets, is migrating to Snapdragon for its higher-end devices (such as the Desire) while sticking with MSM7-series chipsets for mid-range devices such as the Legend. The main consequence of this is the capability gap between devices with hardware graphics acceleration and those without – potentially a problem as Adobe releases Flash 10 in the next few months.
 
Nokia’s Symbian troubles continue, but the N8 is the new hope
Last quarter Ovum commented on the processing power gap opening up between Nokia and its rivals at the high end, and Nokia still does not have a Symbian handset running on a next-generation chipset.
 
Nokia has this week announced its first Symbian^3 handset, the N8, due for release in 3Q10. Nokia desperately needs a high-end consumer device; the N8 focuses on camera and HD video performance, and is based on a 680MHz ARM11 CPU core with hardware graphics acceleration. This allows Nokia to achieve a lower price point than competitors - $490 - while including headline-grabbing camera and video capabilities. The big question for Symbian^3 is whether it can deliver a high-end user experience on ARM11 hardware.
 

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