Android OS poised for World dominance

November 11, 2010

The smartphone market has seen some substantial changes during the third quarter of 2010, with Nokia slowing down its pace as Android races ahead on an overall market that almost doubled from 41m to 80.5m units, according to Gartner’s report: “Forecast: Mobile Communications Devices by Open Operating System, 2007-2014.”

Although Nokia increased the number of phones it sold from 18.3m to 29.5m, yet it lost market share from 44.6% to 36.6%, as opposed to Android phones, that grew their sales dramatically, leaping from 3.5% to 25.5% to become the second-biggest smartphone OS in just a year, overtaking Research In Motion, which saw its share fall from 20.7% to 14.8%, falling into fourth position after iOS, that maintained its share at 17%.

Communication service providers’ (CSPs’) marketing and vendor support for Android-based smartphones will drive the platform to become the second-largest platform, following Symbian, by year-end 2010. This is almost two years earlier than Gartner predicted a year ago.

Android OS, which is based upon a modified version of the Linux kernel, will account together with Symbian for 59.8 percent of mobile OS sales worldwide by 2014. Although Symbian will remain at the top of worldwide OS ranking due to Nokia’s volume and the push into more mass market price points, by 2014 Android will be at a very similar share level.

“The worldwide mobile OS market is dominated by four players: Symbian, Android, Research In Motion and iOS,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Launches of updated operating systems — such as Apple iOS 4, BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4, and Windows Phone 7 — will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in 2H10 and 2011 and spur innovation. 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 and developers and strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise customers.”

Android is also poised for dominance in China, the world’s largest mobile market. A combination of drastic price drops on Android phones and custom Chinese mobile apps supported by the massive domestic market is bound to push Android past the competition. To understand why the Chinese market is so important look at the number of mobile Internet users in China projected for 2014, which is expected to reach 957 million, As a comparison the total population of USA and the European Union combined is about 800 million souls.

Gartner predicts that by 2014, open-source platforms will continue to dominate more than 60 percent of the market for smartphones. Single-source platforms, such as Apple’s iOS and Research In Motion’s OS, will increase in unit terms, but their growth rate will be below market average and not enough to sustain share increase. Windows Phone will be relegated to sixth place behind MeeGo in Gartner’s worldwide OS ranking by 2014.

Additional information is available on Gartner’s website at: