Google’s Android will be the second-largest smartphone platform in as little as three years, according to Gartner.
While it trails today, the mobile OS is predicted to climb to 14.5 percent of the market, or about 76 million phones sold per year, by the end of 2012. As a consequence, it would reduce Symbian’s market share down to 39 percent (203 million phones) and just slightly overtake the iPhone, which in this view would have 13.7 percent of the market or 71.5 million devices.
By comparison, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS would struggle to move past their existing positions in the market, or even decline, and would respectively hold 12.8 percent (66.8 million units) and 12.5 percent (65.25 million) of the market. Linux-based devices such as Nokia’s Maemo-running N900 would have just 5.4 percent of the market or 28 million units, while Palm’s webOS would have a place on a modest 2.1 percent, or 11 million smartphones.
The rise of Android would stem primarily from of Google’s own efforts, including both its own apps as well as refinement of Android Market and the apps inside it. The sheer scale of Android releases should also play an important part, as many more smartphones will carry Android in coming years and should appeal to a wider base than narrower device ranges like the BlackBerry and iPhone lines. As many as 20 phones are known to use the Google OS this year, but up to 40 could use it in 2010.