Today in Mobile

Nokia this morning announced that it is ousting embattled CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in favor of Stephen Elop, who will leave his post as head of Microsoft’s Business Division. As Kevin at GigaOM.com noted, the move underscores Nokia’s longtime effort to expand beyond building hardware into the business of software and services. That’s a wise strategy, obviously, but Nokia has lost tremendous ground while its competitors have gained momentum over the last couple years. Elop will have to be both a brilliant visionary and a strong leader if he is to make Nokia a major player again.

Hey, HP, the Smartphone Market Is Calling

Hewlett-Packard has no plans to move aggressively into the smartphone business following its $1.2 billion pickup of Palm, CEO Mark Hurd said last week. That’s too bad, because the pieces are in place for HP to become a major player in smartphones.

Today in Mobile

The good news continued to roll in for Android this morning with Millennial Media’s claim that ad requests from Google’s mobile OS grew 77  percent from March to April and have risen a whopping 282 percent since January. That news comes on the heels of Gartner’s report that Android owned 9.6 percent of the worldwide mobile OS market in the first quarter of 2010, up dramatically from a meager 1.6 percent during the year-ago period. Millennial provides insight to just a piece of the market, of course, and its figures shouldn’t be taken as an accurate snapshot of the industry as a whole. But it’s a major player in the mobile ad space, and its data is just the latest piece of evidence that Android continues to build momentum.

Today in Mobile

Microsoft used its MIX10 event in Las Vegas to showcase its upcoming Windows Phone, and to demonstrate that the OS already has the backing of some impressive third-party developers. And the company is hoping to build on that momentum with the release of new developer tools and by touting Silverlight, which promises more immersive experiences for mobile users. It appears Microsoft has nearly all the pieces in place to attract developers, but there will still be plenty who wait to see how Windows Phone does in the marketplace before investing their time and money in the platform. If the OS looks good coming out of the gate, look for a host of smaller developers to join the bandwagon.

Google Gesture Search Is Great — If You Can Get It

Google has introduced a nifty app that allows users to search contacts and other data by drawing letters on the screen of their phones. But it’s available only on handsets running Android version 2.0 or later, which means a lot of users are being left behind.

Today in Mobile

Gartner released its latest smartphone sales estimates today, and it won’t surprise you in the least to learn that Android and the iPhone OS were the two fastest-growing platforms in 2009. Meanwhile, Symbian’s market share declined even as its overall sales rose, and RIM’s market share hit roughly 20 percent while Windows Mobile continued to slide toward irrelevance. Palm’s webOS garnered a weak .7 percent market share, which surely isn’t what Palm envisioned when it launched the OS last summer. And it’s worth noting — as MocoNews does here — that despite all the hype, smartphones still account for a pretty small fraction of the overall handset market.

Today in Mobile

The developer world is abuzz with reports that Google has forked Android, using a new lock type, new security hooks and a revamped framebuffer driver infrastructure. The news marks the latest indication that Android is splintering into a variety of flavors — a potential danger James at jkOnTheRun pointed out last spring. I think what’s most amazing is the speed at which different versions of Android are coming to market. For instance, the Nexus One — which, of course, is now the OS’s flagship device — keeps pulling farther ahead of the Motorola Droid, which was released just several weeks earlier. Fragmentation is clearly occurring, but it seems to be happening more quickly than most of us predicted.

5 Tips for Developers Targeting the iPad

From a mobile developer’s point of view, the iPad is a revolution waiting to happen. The gadget’s 9.7-inch screen, allowing for glorious visuals and vastly superior touch navigation, simply can’t be duplicated in the world of phones. And because it runs the iPhone OS, it automatically opens the App Store’s 140,000 offerings to a brand new medium — giving developers a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to their titles on Apple’s overstocked shelves. With that in mind, then, I offer a few strategic ideas for developers looking to exploit the new tablet.

Today in Mobile

Google today postponed the release of two Android phones that had been slated to come to market through China Unicom. The move ups the ante in the high-profile conflict between Mountain View and Beijing, and it is a clear indication that Google won’t control the evolution of Android in the world’s largest mobile market. I don’t think the Chinese government will ban Android outright — too many Chinese players have too much invested in the OS for that — but I do think we’ll see multiple versions of Android in China that simply aren’t integrated with any of Google’s mobile apps. Whether those handsets will sell, though, is far from clear.

How Microsoft Can Get Back in the Mobile Game

LG, like many of its fellow manufacturers, is shifting its focus toward Android and away from Windows Mobile. As Microsoft scrambles to churn out the newest version of its mobile operating system, we offer some ideas to get back in the game.