The Most Popular Mobile OS on Earth Doesn't Exist Anymore

Illustration for article titled The Most Popular Mobile OS on Earth Doesn't Exist Anymore

A little over a week ago, Nokia killed off the Symbian name, instead calling the platform Nokia Belle and, hopefully, letting it die a swift and unencumbered death. And then yesterday we find out that the very same Symbian, is the most popular mobile platform in the whole wide world.

Of course, that's a position Symbian's held for months and months, owing to its popularity in parts of Europe and developing markets. But that's always been the problem with Symbian: broad distribution, sure, but a shoddy product confined—for the most part—to the low end of the market. And while it lives on as Nokia Belle, it's hard to tell whether the move is one to reenergize through rebranding, or a muted death sentence.

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In some ways, Symbian's continued popularity makes Nokia's Windows Phone investment an even more impressive gamble; Microsoft's mobile offering is the most promising we've seen in years (this coming from a very happy Lumia user), but it doesn't take too keen an eye to see that it doesn't even register on the chart above. [Pingdom]

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DISCUSSION

I bet a lot of iPhone owners are wondering, "WTF is Symbian, wasn't iphone the first smart phone ever?". To you people I remind you of the Ngage.

I know a lot of people hated this thing, but it was pretty nifty at the time. I owned one, and still have it for nostalgia. The thing was flawed with terrible design, but the idea was pretty cool. A cell phone that played games.

Course I didn't just play games. It was a smart phone as well. You know how funny it is to walk into RadioShack and have a representative ask me if I wanted to upgrade my phone, but I show him my phone playing Monty Python and the Holy. Full movie was sitting on my phone, and no it didn't take up hundreds of megabytes. People surrounded me, watching and asking me where I'd get such a phone. Remember this is 2004, so smart phones were rare.

All the Ngage really was is a re-purposed Symbian phone. This is probably why it failed, since they did little to redesign the phone hardware. Even though the Ngage failed, new Nokia model phones were able to play Ngage games for many years.