Android expected to be no. 2 mobile OS this year

Last updated Sep 17, 2010 — 5813 views

Gartner expects Android to be the number two mobile operating system worldwide this year, behind only Symbian. Additionally, the market research firm expects the upstart OS to challenge Symbian for the top position by 2014.

Gartner says Symbian and Android already dominate the worldwide mobile OS market, and forecasts that they will account for about 60 percent of mobile OS sales by 2014.

“Symbian will remain at the top of Gartner’s worldwide OS ranking due to Nokia’s volume and the push into more mass market price points,” says Roberta Cozza, Gartner’s principal research analyst. “However, by the end of the forecast period, the number one spot will be contested with Android, which will be at a very similar share level.”

According to Cozza support for Android-based smartphones by both device vendors and mobile operators are the key factors that will drive the platform into the number two position, behind Symbian, by year-end. “This is almost two years earlier than Gartner predicted a year ago,” she notes.

The market forecast table below comes from Gartner’s new report, “Forecast: Mobile Communications Devices by Open Operating System, 2007-2014.”

 OS 2009 2010 2011 2014
Symbian 80,876.3 107,662.4 141,278.6 264,351.8
Market Share (%) 46.9 40.1 34.2 30.2
Android 6,798.4 47,462.1 91,937.7 259,306.4
Market Share (%) 3.9 17.7 22.2 29.6
Research In Motion 34,346.8 46,922.9 62,198.2 102,579.5
Market Share (%) 19.9 17.5 15.0 11.7
iOS 24,889.8 41,461.8 70,740.0 130,393.0
Market Share (%) 14.4 15.4 17.1 14.9
Windows Phone 15,031.1 12,686.5 21,308.8 34,490.2
Market Share (%) 8.7 4.7 5.2 3.9
Other Operating Systems 10,431.9 12,588.1 26,017.3 84,452.9
Market Share (%) 6.1 4.7 6.3 9.6
Total Market 172,374.3 268,783.7 413,480.5 875,573.8

“The worldwide mobile OS market is dominated by four players: Symbian, Android, Research In Motion and iOS,” continues Cozza.

“Launches of updated operating systems — such as Apple iOS 4, BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and 4, and Windows Phone 7 — will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in 2H10 and 2011 and spur innovation,” she explains. “However, we believe that market share in the OS space will consolidate around a few key OS providers that have the most support from CSPs (communication service providers) and developers and strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise customers.”

Cozza expects device-makers such as Samsung to launch numerous low-cost Android devices in 2H10, with the result that Android will increasingly find a home in mass market segments. Thereafter, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Motorola, are likely to follow. “This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010,” she predicts.

“CSPs and mobile device manufacturers alike will need to revisit their platform strategies and balance the need to pursue platforms with the highest current demand against the need to maintain differentiation with unique devices,” Cozza adds. “CSPs will likely reduce the number of platforms they offer, to reduce their support costs and clarify their propositions to market.”

Gartner expects that by 2014, open-source platforms will own more than 60 percent of the smartphone OS market. Sole-sourced platforms, such as those of Apple and RIM, will increase in unit volumes, but their growth rate will not be sufficient to drive market share increase. Additionally, Gartner predicts that Microsoft’s Windows Mobile phone OS will drop to sixth place, behind MeeGo, by 2014.

Further information regarding Gartner’s mobile OS research is available on the firm’s website.

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