According to the research held by analytics company Canalys the market of “smart” mobile devices in Europe, Near East and Africa grows more rapidly than market of mobile phones. Within the first half of 2005 9.6 million of smartphones and PDAs were sold compared to 3.6 million during the same period of the previous year. Such trend is observed worldwide – almost 70 million full feature handsets are sold worldwide. According to analysts the two main processes in progress stipulate such growth at the moment. On the one hand, ordinary users interchange their old smartphones and PDAs to newer ones. On the other hand, there is an upsurge in interest in mobile E-mail and extended abilities of smart mobile devices from companies and corporations.
Modern smart mobile systems are to be: always available (small sized/handy), always On (optimized memory usage, minimal battery use), extensible (new software can be added if necessary), affordable, and of various form factors. Moreover, a smart mobile device should combine the maximum of mobile technologies available at the moment: GPS, VoIP, Bluetooth, IrDa, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, mobile E-mail, support of HTTP protocol, MP3 etc. This is a vast domain for competition among manufacturers of operation systems for smartphones and PDAs.
There are several very large players in this market: Symbian OS, BREW OS, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile OS and Palm OS etc.
Ulf Morys, General Manager at Gameloft GmbH:
“ - Symbian: more important in the future, but still niche market (Nokia market share ca. 33 % overall; not more than 1/3 of this Symbian phones & some other Symbian phones). Overall optimistic estimate: ca. 10 % of total newly sold phone base.
- BlackBerry: interesting for business / productivity applications; no mass market.
- WindowsCE: difficult to judge. Microsoft will keep pushing it’s platform, but results were often unsatisfactory in the past; make sure that the partners can actually bill for applications delivered to this platform. We’ve seen problems with this.
- BREW: real mass market potential in US and Chinese market, not very relevant for European market.”
SYMBIAN – is a software licensing company that develops and supplies the advanced, open, standard operating system – Symbian OS – for data-enabled mobile phones and PDAs.
As of September 2005 60 phones that run under Symbian OS from eight manufacturers are shipped worldwide and a further 56 phones from eleven manufacturers (among them Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, BenQ and Motorola) were in development. Symbian OS is an undisputed sales leader in Europe and has a strong market share in other countries. Currently Symbian’s market share is 55.9 per cent from worldwide sales (according to IDC analytics company), at that 82 per cent of devices were manufactured by Nokia (in whole since 2005 beginning there were sold approximately 34 million data enabled devices with Symbian OS on board).
Philip Solis, ABI Research senior analyst, author of the study “Smartphones: The Market for Smartphones and Smartphone Operating Systems”:
“Symbian’s chief advantages are that it is easy to build applications for, and that it has a large developer community. Disadvantages are that Symbian is primarily limited to Nokia handsets, and its market is concentrated in “GSM-heavy” regions.”
19 of 60 devices with Symbian OS support WCDMA. By the way, smartphone Nokia 6680 is recognized a 3G world bestseller telephone.
Key features of Symbian OS
• Rich suite of application engines – the suite includes engines for contacts, schedule, messaging, browsing, utility and system control; OBEX for exchanging objects such as appointments (using vCalendar) and business cards (vCard); integrated APIs for data management, text, clipboard and graphics
• Browsing – supports WAP 1.2.1 for mobile browsing
• Messaging – multimedia messaging (MMS), enhanced messaging (EMS) and SMS; internet mail using POP3, IMAP4, SMTP and MHTML; attachments; fax
• Multimedia – audio and video support for recording, playback and streaming; image conversion
• Graphics – direct access to screen and keyboard for high performance; graphics accelerator API
• Communications protocols – wide-area networking stacks including TCP/IP (dual mode IPv4/v6) and WAP, personal area networking support include infrared (IrDA), Bluetooth® wireless technology and USB; support is also provided for multihoming capabilities and link layer • Quality-of-Service (QoS) on GPRS/UMTS networks
• Mobile telephony – Symbian OS is ready for the 3G market with support for GSM circuit switched voice and data (CSD and EDGE ECSD) and packet-based data (GPRS and EDGE EGPRS); CDMA circuit switched voice, data and packet-based data (IS-95, cdma2000 1x, and WCDMA); SIM, RUIM and UICC Toolkit; other standards can be implemented by licensees through extensible APIs of the telephony subsystem
• International support – conforms to Unicode Standard version 3.0
• Data synchronization – over-the-air (OTA) synchronization support using SyncML; PC-based synchronization over serial, Bluetooth® wireless technology, Infrared and USB; a PC Connectivity framework providing the ability to transfer files and synchronize PIM data
• Security – full encryption and certificate management, secure protocols (HTTPS, WTLS and SSL and TLS), WIM framework and certificate-based application installation
• Developing for Symbian OS – content development options include: C++, Java (J2ME) MIDP 2.0 and PersonalJava 1.1.1a (with JavaPhone 1.0 option), and WAP; tools are available for building C++ and Java applications and ROMs with support for on-target debugging
• User Inputs – generic input mechanism supporting full keyboard, 0-9*# (numeric mobile phone keypad), voice, handwriting recognition and predictive text input.
BREW - Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless is a combination OS, application platform, and marketing system. BREW started with QUALCOMM-based CDMA chipsets and technology – a vast market – but BREW is independent of the wireless technology utilized by a particular handset or network and can support other wireless technologies. Ideally, BREW can work with any device, and Qualcomm is planning to port it to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). Qualcomm is trying to remove the gap between GSM and CDMA operators. As CDMA strengthened hand, the GSM lobby propped its own version of CDMA which they named WCDMA (Wideband CDMA). WCDMA has been launched in a group of countries (80 operators in 29 countries), and many more are gearing to launch it within this year, it is already successfully running in countries like Korea, Japan, China, India, Brazil and in some parts of North America.
So far prevalent in the CDMA domain, BREW is gradually transiting to the GSM bastion of Europe as the continent's operators introduce 3G services based on WCDMA (by the end of year 2005 the number of WCDMA networks users worldwide increased by 2,6 times compared to December 31, 2004 and reached 43,81 million users). Such a scenario could make Qualcomm a worldwide flag carrier in mobile market. In all, 40 commercial BREW device manufacturers (Audiovox, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, BenQ etc.) offer over 135 BREW-enabled devices – as of January, 2006 according to Qualcomm. Almost 10% of all handsets shipped worldwide are BREW compatible and the number of application downloads (May 2005) exceeds 300 million. The success of BREW has been built on CDMA platforms of major mobile operators, including Verizon Wireless, China Unicom, Telstra and KDDI.
Regardless of platform, BREW requires little memory (150KB), which makes BREW applications workable even on low-end phones.
BREW provides basic capabilities for such advanced services.