N900 shipment numbers - 100,000 in first 5 weeks

Published by Rafe Blandford at 19:41 UTC, May 30th 2010

Earlier this week an estimate, from Gartner, that less than 100,000 Nokia N900s have been shipped since the devices launch was widely reported. Anecdotal evidence, such as download numbers, Flickr activity and operator-led retail distribution in various countries would suggest this estimate is low. Nokia has not released any total sales numbers for the N900, but it did indicate that the 100,000 figure was reached 5 weeks after launch.

Nokia have also aid several times in the past few months that N900 shipments have exceeded expectations. As a 'step four of five' device in Nokia's Maemo / Meego plans the device was always intended to be relatively niche and help build a developer community around Nokia's mobile Linux platform.

It's not really fair to blame Gartner for an inaccurate estimate - making estimates for devices that have shipped in the low millions is notoriously difficult. Such estimates are typically calculated using a mixture of data from operators, consumer surveys and statistical analysis. A typical devices, such as the N900, may not fit into traditional retail models making the process even more difficult (e.g. the N900 will likely have sold a significantly greater proportion SIM-free compared to the typical Nokia device). 

Coming up with an overall estimate for the N900 can only be educated guess work. However based on the first 5 weeks of shipments I would suggest it is reasonable to assume the total sales numbers are between 350,000 and 500,000. 

But even this estimate may be inaccurate. In normal circumstances Nokia achieves its greatest sales when operators 'range' a device. In the case of the N900 Vodafone in the UK pushed to N900 in its sales channels in the early part of this year (more than 5 weeks after its initial retail availability). However the N900, as noted above, the N900 is not a typical device. Even so this does mean that is possible that N900 shipments have been significantly more than the estimate I offer above.


N900 Flickr usage

There are more than 100,000 photos on Flickr, which have been taken with the Nokia N900. This is growing at the rate of about 500 photos a day and the N900 is the 8th 'most popular' Nokia device on the site. Flickr numbers are subject to a variety of factors (number of devices, ease of on-device upload, type of user and more), so can not be used in any concrete argument, but  even so can, perhaps, be used indicatively.

N900 usage on Flickr this year [source]

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