Android goes from underdog to top dog: Watch out Apple

The Android mobile OS is everything Google hoped it would be and everything Apple hoped it wouldn't.

Here's more evidence of Android's meteoritic rise to the top. According to market researcher Gartner, Google's fledgling open-source mobile operating system, barely a blip on the wireless radar a year ago, will grab the No. 2 spot in global market share by the end of 2010. Even more stunning is Gartner's prediction that Android will rival Symbian as the world's top mobile OS by 2014.

Certainly, Android phone manufacturers (and fans) will welcome Gartner's four-year forecast, which doesn't offer today's leading mobile OS vendors, Research In Motion (RIM) and Nokia, much to celebrate.

A Black Eye for BlackBerry

BlackBerry-maker RIM takes the hardest punch. RIM, which owned almost 20 per cent of the global mobile market in 2009, will see that share nearly halved to 11.7 per cent by 2014, Gartner predicts. And Nokia, which sells millions of Symbian-based phones (particularly in developing countries like India) won't be thrilled by the forecast either. Symbian, which owned nearly 47 per cent of the global market in 2009, will plummet to around 30 per cent four years from now.

For Android, however, the news is grand. Not only will it nudge RIM out of second place by the end of 2010, but it also run head-to-head with Symbian within four years-each with a 30 per cent share. (Gartner gives Symbian the slight edge, however.)

Open Source Rules

The mobile market will favor open-source operating systems (i.e., Android and Symbian) over single-source platforms such as Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry OS. While mobile sales for Apple and RIM will continue to rise, they won't be high enough to boost the platforms' global shares.   Apple, for instance, will have about 15 per cent of the market by 2014, a half-point drop from today, says the forecast.

Gartner is the second research firm this week to predict a rosy future for Android. IDC also forecasts that Android will rise to second place by 2014, although it expects Symbian to retain a comfortable lead--33 percent to Android's 25 percent.

The Wildcard:   Windows Phone

One notable difference between the Gartner and IDC forecasts concerns Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Gartner predicts Windows Phone will be an also-ran in four years with a meagre 4 per cent share, while IDC gives Microsoft's OS a healthy 9.8 per cent of the market-just a point behind iOS, in fact.

The disparity is strong indication that no one really knows how mobile customers will respond to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's new OS slated to debut on several third-party handsets within weeks.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NokiaGartnerGoogleoperating systemssymbiansoftwarePhonesconsumer electronicsresearch in motionPalmRIM BlackBerrywireless technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?