Gartner have forecasted that Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) will become the second largest platform in terms of market share by year-end 2010. Symbian, however, will remain number one. Garner also notes that by 2014, the end of the forecast period for this latest market research report, Android will vie for the top spot against Nokia's Symbian OS.Research analysts at
Yes, Android is officially on the path to world domination.
Here in the U.S., much of the tech news is centered on the smartphone battle between Apple's iPhone and Android. But on the global stage, the top mobile players are Nokia's Symbian, Android, Research in Motion (makers of Blackberry smartphones), then iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Principal analyst Roberta Cozza at Gartner noted that recent and upcoming launches of new smartphone operating systems including iOS4, Blackberry OS 6, Symbian 3 and 4 and Windows Phone 7, will help maintain the current trend of heavy growth in the smartphone sector, but her firm believes that market share worldwide will still revolve around the four key providers mentioned above.
The reason these companies have maintained, and likely will continue to maintain, their top spots involves a number of factors, most notably the support they have from communications service providers and developers, as well as their strong brand awareness with both enterprise and consumer customers.
Why Android Will Become Number One
So how is it that Android will soon fight for the top spot as the number one mobile operating system in the world? Not just the number one smartphone operating system, mind you, but the number one OS, period?
Cozza explains that several manufacturers, such as Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola, will adopt Android as the OS for their new budget devices, which will help Android achieve number one status in North America by the end of 2010. In addition, communication service providers and device manufacturers will also revisit their platform strategies going forward, and will have to "balance the need to pursue platforms with the highest current demand against the need to maintain differentiation with unique devices." Or more simply put, Android's current popularity begets even more popularity. Service providers that reduce the number of platforms they offer to customers will also reduce their support costs, which will be yet another benefit of moving to Android, in their eyes, allowing the OS to make even more gains.
Gartner also predicts by 2014, open source platforms, like Android and Symbian, will dominate around 60% of the market share for smartphones. Single-source platforms, like Apple's iOS and Blackberry OS, will increase in terms of units sold, but their growth rate won't be enough to sustain market share increases.
As for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's new entry into the smartphone race, Gartner places it at number six worldwide behind MeeGo, Nokia and Intel's joint open source project, by 2014.