Need a clue to how fast the world’s changing? Apple – which has been in the phone business less than five years – is about to sell more smartphones than Nokia for the first time ever. That’s the last laurel Nokia has left.
That’s the word from analysts at Nomura, which Monday announced the iPhone-maker and Galaxy S II creator Samsung would leap-frog the Finnish cell phone pioneer this spring. Observers of Nokia’s decline assumed the change would occur during the second half of 2011.
If accurate, the passage would cap Nokia’s decline that began in 2007, when the first iPhone was released. The introduction of the Apple handset essentially removed North America from Nokia’s grasp. By 2011, the iPhone reigned supreme in Europe, Nokia’s own backyard. Nokia responded with reassurance that it still had the low-cost market. True, until Android phones began appearing like something out of this summer’s blockbuster novel “Robopocolypse.”
Nokia has a chance to hang on to some of the smartphone market. It recently jettisoned the Symbian platform for Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which we reported earlier today is stealing share from RIM. Still, with the first WP7 Nokia handset not due to land until later this year, and the full transition to take until 2012, Nokia’s going to have a lot of catching up to do.