Nokia and Symbian still on top of the mobile web, but for how long?

Perceptions matter, and the perception of Nokia in the news, on the web, and in the minds of many, is that things aren’t going that well. Even in the Pingdom office, we hear “Nokia is doomed,” but do the numbers support this belief?

Looking at the statistics, Symbian leads the mobile operating system race with just over 30% of web browsing traffic. That’s down slightly from late last year, when we noted that Symbian finished 2011 as the top mobile operating system, with almost 34% of the mobile OS market.

What is even more interesting, however, is that Nokia is also ahead when we look at figures for all the mobile handset vendors. In fact, Nokia is way ahead of Apple, and Android lags far behind.

Symbian still on top, but Android is growing fast

In the latest figures we looked at, covering the first three weeks of February 2012, we can see that Symbian is still the top mobile OS, with a 30.3% market share. Apple’s iOS come in just behind Symbian at 25.35%, and Android follows at 24.72%. BlackBerry OS has lost a lot of ground and lands at 6.8%, just ahead of Samsung at 5.06%. Samsung’s bada manages to gather up 0.52%, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone has a 0.4% share of the mobile OS market. What used to be HP’s webOS barely manages to score enough to get in the rankings with only 0.04%.

Nokia is top mobile handset vendor

If we instead look at the market share divided on vendor, Nokia manages to get a 36. 09% market share, ahead of Apple at 30.41%, and Samsung at 14.82%. RIM falls in at 8.19%, Sony Ericsson at 3.54%, and HTC at 3.52%.

Even if you make a rough estimate for how much of this that Android accounts for, by adding up the numbers for vendors playing in that space, like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola, Android only reaches about 25% (note the 24.72% market share for Android in the first chart). And that’s not taking into account that not all handsets from these vendors will run Android. Both Samsung and HTC, for example, also make Windows Phone handsets.

Nokia may be on top, but for how long?

It seems like we keep hearing bad news concerning Nokia; that its financial results aren’t that good and that sales are dwindling. And we think most would agree that the Finnish mobile giant squandered the strong grip it had on the market before Apple came along with the first iPhone.

Although Nokia and Symbian still come out on top according to these numbers, the company must be looking hard and fast at how it can get back to its former glory. It’s too early to tell what effect, if any, Nokia’s launch into Windows Phone territory has had. Although Windows Phone’s part of the mobile OS market is a minuscule 0.4%, we also don’t know how much of that is Nokia. But obviously, with that small market share, that doesn’t matter much.

Nokia phone picture via Shutterstock.


  1. It’s funny how in these statistics, Apple has a higher market share than iOS…

    The reason is obvious: unlike in most other statistics (such as “mobile OS”), StatCounter doesn’t include an “unknown” graph in the “mobile vendor” chart. And it’s not only the graph missing: these number are simply *ignored completely* — giving all “known” vendors a higher market share than they actually have.

    According to the Apple/iOS numbers, globally it’s “only” some 17% missing due to unknown vendors — but in some specific regions, the numbers are off much more.

    What’s worse, some vendors became “known” at various points in time; meaning the “missing” part is actually not constant — so it’s not really possible to follow the trend of any vendor’s market share from these graphs at all.

  2. Amazing. I switched from symbian (N97) to iOS (iPhone 4) 4 months ago. If everyone feels the same about symbian the way I do, I hope the figures are the other way around in one year 🙂 (considering how many people can still be stuck with symbian phone subscriptions)

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