The popularity of smartphones continues to skyrocket with one in every five handsets sold in the Asia being a smartphone, starting a new war of operating systems.
Market research company GfK Asia has revealed that smartphones have registered exponential growth in Asia in the last 12 months with over 4.7 million units of smartphones worth over USD1.48 billion being sold in quarter three this year. It now occupies nearly half of the entire handset sales pie.
“GfK’s retail audit findings are showing impressive, almost three-fold increase in value of the industry when we compare sales figures from the latest quarter to the same quarter a year ago,” said Mr Gerard Tan, Regional Account Director for Telecommunications, GfK Asia Pte Ltd.
“While only 1.27 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter of last year, over 4.7 million units were sold in the same quarter this year, signifying a growth of nearly 270 percent,” he added.
The rapid rise of smartphones has also begun an operating system (OS) war among major manufacturers in Asia who are scrambling to introduce their smartphones on a more popular and user-friendly platform.
Symbian, previously the leading OS since the second half of last year, is facing intense competition from the Android OS, said GfK.
Symbian is the OS used by Nokia’s latest N8 smartphone, while Android is used by Samsung’s Galaxy S.
“Our Q3 report shows that Android has recently overtaken Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in the context of Asia as a whole, in both value and unit sales. However, it is interesting to note the difference in OS trends when we look at findings in North and Southeast Asia separately,” highlighted Mr. Tan.
In Northern Asia, the smartphone OS competition is probably at its most intense as OS shares fluctuate vigorously in reaction to strategic and tactical initiatives from major manufacturers. In the Southeast Asia region however, Symbian has been the leading smartphone OS and continues its lead albeit gradually declining sales.
Since the beginning of the year, Android, RIM and iPhone OS have been enjoying gains in the smartphone segment at the expense of Symbian OS. “With the myriad of mobile operating systems available in the Asia market right now, manufacturers have to look beyond hardware to succeed in this market” concluded Mr. Tan.