Home Half of World’s Smartphones Will Run Android by 2012, Says Gartner

Half of World’s Smartphones Will Run Android by 2012, Says Gartner

In Android market share news, analysts at Gartner are now forecasting the Google-created mobile operating system will reach 49% smartphone market share by the end of 2012, based on handset sales. By the end of this year (2011), Android will be the most popular operating system in the world, as worldwide smartphone sales reach 468 million units.

Meanwhile, iOS will remain the second largest platform through 2014, says Gartner, despite seeing slight market share decreases this year. RIM will decline, and Nokia will push Windows Phone up to the mid-tier by the end of 2012, it predicts. By 2013, Windows Phone will be the third-largest platform.

This isn’t the first analyst firm to forecast that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership will have a major impact on smartphone market share. In March, IDC also said that Windows Phone would be boosted, arriving in the number two position by 2015.

Doubting the Analysts

Of course, these forecasts are not without their doubters. Both ZDNet and Engadget questioned IDC’s numbers last month, and today, independent analyst Horace Dediu of asymco is questioning Gartner’s.

He says that Gartner’s assumption that Apple is “interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy,” contradicts statements made by Apple’s COO Timothy D. Cook. He also doubts that RIM will be able to migrate from BlackBerry OS to QNX (the PlayBook OS) by 2012, as Gartner states. Finally, he doubts that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership will have that much of an effect by 2012, calling such a thing, if it was to occur, “an organizational miracle.”

Dediu shared a useful chart, too, which showcases the current forecasts from various analyst firms, as well as the historical market share figures. The chart clearly shows that not all firms are on the same page when it comes to the future of the smartphone market. ABI Research, for example, sees more of a future in Samsung’s Bada OS than it does in Windows Phone.

While it should be noted that Dediu is a decidedly pro-Apple analyst, he often makes more sense than some of the larger analyst firms. That said, predicting smartphone market share in an industry like this is usually a shot in the dark. Things change fast around here – long-term forecasts of any kind probably shouldn’t be banked on.

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