Symbian vs Windows Smartphone

I often see statements about Symbian being better than Windows Mobile backed up by sales data. While I have no experience with either of the phones (I do have a Windows Mobile-based Audiovox SMT 5600 on order), I wonder how accurate using sales data to backup these claims is.

The reason I question this is that until this month, the largest cellular provider in the US offered just ONE Windows Mobile based smartphone, the Motorola MPx220, which was often panned as being a poor device. Cingular has offered multiple Symbian smartphones over the same period. In fact, as I look around there’s a dearth of Windows Smartphone devices. If you include Pocket PC’s the number goes up, but few would put a $500-$600 dollar Pocket PC in the same category as a $200 dollar smartphone.

The truth of the matter is that there just aren’t that many Windows Mobile smartphones on the market. Most of the Windows Mobile devices are Pocket PC devices with ginormous pricetags. I expect to see a good jump in the sales of Windows Mobile this year and the next. For one, Cingular now offers the Audiovox 5600 which is widely held as being the best Windows Smartphone on the market. Secondly, with the advent of Windows Mobile 5.0 (which is admitedly not a huge jump in functionality, but supports a few things which will increase it’s desirability such as the support for QVGA screens) this year more and more devices will be rolling out with Windows Mobile installed.

Like I said, I have no experience with either of the phone operating systems, but if the tech industry has shown us anything about sales data, it’s that high sales != high quality.

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