Android to win half the smartphone market by 2012, says Gartner

The Google-backed Android operating will account for almost 50 per cent of the smartphone market by the end of 2012, according to Gartner research, giving it an enormous lead on its competitors. Gartner forecasts that Android sales will hit 310 million in 2012 as the smartphone market surges to 630.5 million devices for the year.

The figures represent solid growth for the Android OS, which had a market share of 22.7 per cent at the close of 2010. Gartner expects this to swell to  38.5 by the end of this year. But the firm is forecasting a slight drop in market share for Android between 2012 and 2015; a period during which Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is expected to almost double in size from 10.8 per cent to 19.5 per cent. By this point smartphone sales will have exceeded one  billion annually, Gartner predicted.

The rapid growth in Android shipments will result from the spread of smartphone technology into the lower end of the market, Gartner said. “By 2015, 67 per cent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below,” said principal analyst Roberta Cozza. “As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers. 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.”

Apple is not expected to follow Android into the lower reaches of the smartphone market, preferring to maintain margins and Gartner therefore expects the market share for iOS to peak in 2011 at 13.4 per cent.

Worldwide Mobile Communications Device Open OS Sales to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

OS 2010 2011 2012 2015
Symbian 111,577 89,930 32,666 661
Market Share (%) 37.6 19.2 5.2 0.1
Android 67,225 179,873 310,088 539,318
Market Share (%) 22.7 38.5 49.2 48.8
Research In Motion 47,452 62,600 79,335 122,864
Market Share (%) 16.0 13.4 12.6 11.1
iOS 46,598 90,560 118,848 189,924
Market Share (%) 15.7 19.4 18.9 17.2
Microsoft 12,378 26,346 68,156 215,998
Market Share (%) 4.2 5.6 10.8 19.5
Other Operating Systems 11,417.4 18,392.3 21,383.7 36,133.9
Market Share (%) 3.8 3.9 3.4 3.3
Total Market 296,647 467,701 630,476 1,104,898

Source: Gartner (April 2011)

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