Nokia aims to ship 500 million phones in 2010

Nokia hopes to have an extremely successful year in 2010, with a company executive setting a goal to ship at least 500 million phone units.

“In 2010, Nokia will ship over 500 million units across three platforms, which will be about 40 percent of the global market share,” said Rick Simonson, Nokia mobile phone unit boss, in an interview.

Reuters conducted a poll three months ago that indicated analysts predict Nokia will sell an estimated 458 million mobile units in 2010, up from a prediction of 424 million sold in 2009.

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Nokia remains the No. 1 global mobile phone maker, but has had trouble competing with RIM, HTC, Apple, Samsung, and other manufacturers releasing smartphone models.

“Yes, we have lost ground in the smartphone space over the past 18 months, but the decline has stopped and stabilized in the second and third quarters of 2009.  The new year will see [our] recovery in smartphones with the introduction of Maemo and the stabilization of the Symbian operating system, which by the way, continues to be the platform for the largest number of smartphones, globally.”

Simonson can say what he wants, but Nokia must also try and figure out what to do with Symbian.  Open source mobile phones are still struggling, while Europeans haven’t been keen on Google Android-powered phones just yet.  Nokia only has one Linux phone planned for 2010 — and if the company doesn’t have any other Linux-based announcements — expect sales numbers well below 500M.

I give Nokia credit for finally realizing that a drastic change must happen if the company wants to compete with RIM and Apple — but I’m discouraged that the company has done very little to indicate how it will be able to reach 500M units shipped this year.

I believe Nokia will be able to rebound from a sluggish 2009, but fully expect Nokia to continue to lose marketshare as it can no longer compete with several major rivals.  I don’t think Nokia will ship 500 million units in 2010, unless several new smartphones are released with stunning features.