Gartner Pegs Android Global Smartphone OS Market Leader by 2012

Researcher forecasts 58 percent increase in worldwide smartphone sales to 48 million units in 2011.

Google Inc.’s Android smartphone operating system (OS) will become the worldwide leader by the end of 2011, and one year later will account for 49 percent of the market, according to researcher Gartner Inc.

The researcher also said that global smartphone unit sales will reach 468 million units by the end of this year, a 58 percent jump from last year.

Gartner figures that sales of devices based on open OS, such as Research in Motion Inc.’s BlackBerry OS, Apple Computer Inc.’s iOS, Nokia Corp.’s Symbian, Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Linux, will account for more than one-quarter of all mobile handset sales in 2011, and will exceed 1 billion units by 2015, or 47 percent of the total market.

“As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers,” said Roberta Cozza, Gartner principal analyst.

“Android's position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets,” she said.

Gartner predicted that Apple’s iOS will hold second place in the smartphone market through 2014, although it will be eclipsed in 2015 by Microsoft. The researcher said that it expects iOS’s share of the market to peak at 19.4 percent in 2011, falling to 17.2 percent by 2015.

The researcher also forecast that Nokia will position Windows Phone in the middle of its portfolio by the close of 2012, pushing the platform to third in the world by the end of the following year. Gartner said that Nokia’s alliance with Microsoft is the sole reason for Windows Phone’s upward movement in the market.

TAGS: Google,Android,Microsoft,smartphone,Gartner

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