-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)
A smartphone is a mobile phone with an operating system, multimedia support, Internet connectivity and some computer abilities. It would serve as a media player and a digital video camera, usually has a touchscreen, map navigation, Wi-Fi access and web browsers. Nokia's Symbian phones and Blackberry can be called the early popular smartphones. However it was the iPhones with their large multi-touchscreens (which used no stylus but the human touch) that revolutionized the smartphone world. Although I use smartphones, I still keep a Nokia feature phone maybe for old times sake and for simplicity.
Apple is credited for popularizing software technology be it the personal computer with it's Mac, the mp3 player with it's iPod, smartphone with it's iPhone or the tablet with it's iPad. Predictably iPhone 5 is a bigger version of the previous version, but there stops the freshness. IPhone 5 has arrived a year too late. In fact one can state that it is the Samsung Galaxy SIII that's the best smartphone currently with it's powerful hardware, polished looks and creative software. The iPhone 5 has simply been made as a competitor for the S III. But yes it is the best iPhone until date. As of today (November 3rd 2012) the sales of the S III has hit the 30 million mark. HTC One X is also another great advanced android smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, the LG Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and some other phones currently have screens that are bigger than that of the iPhone 5.
Currently Android rules the smartphone market with a market share of around 64 percent this year as compared to it's 43 percent last year. Meanwhile iPhone has roughly stayed the same with 18 percent market share. Symbian sales have fallen from 22 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2012. Every year the sales are decreasing but yet it is quite considerable enough not to ignore presently. Many Nokia devices use Symbian and Nokia is still the largest mobile device seller in India. Blackberry sales has fallen drastically intact it has halved; around 12 last year to about 5 percent this year. Microsoft's market share has increased from 1 percent to 2 percent especially after the introduction of Nokia's Lumia. Worldwide both Nokia and Samsung each make up around 20 percent of the mobile phones market share. Apple with around 7 percent of the share this year comes third. (Source: Gartner Reports, 2012)
In the US currently Android sales lead the way followed closely by Apple. Blackberry and Microsoft Phone are distant competitors with below ten percent of the smartphone market share. In China android makes up nearly 70 percent of the smartphone market share. In many European countries, Israel and in Australia, Android comes first followed by Apple. Blackberry still has a significant market in these countries. Symbian is used in Africa (nearly everybody in Guinea Bissau, Somalia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Mozambique, many people in Niger, Swaziland, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad), in India, Russia, Middle East (Oman, Iraq, Jordan), Central and Southern Europe (surprisingly a major player in Italy), South America (Paraguay) hardly ever used in USA and is on the decline in China.
License Patents have been brought out to protect Companies' intellectual property. But these have led to several disputes between companies. Litigation, suits and counter-suits have occurred between Software MNCs over the use of technology. Apple initially claimed that HTC and later Samsung have stolen and copied their design ideas. Some of the most famous law suits fought between Smartphone manufacturers have been: 2009 Apple vs. Nokia in 2009, Apple vs. HTC, Nokia and Motorola each in 2010, Apple vs. Nokia, Samsung in 2011, Microsoft vs. Motorola in 2010-11 and Apple vs. Samsung in 2012.