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2/1/2010
00:01 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Android To Reign Supreme By 2013

Android is predicted to surpass the iPhone and Blackberry platforms by 2013 becoming the second largest smartphone platform. Only Nokia's Symbian will be on more phones sold that year.

Android is predicted to surpass the iPhone and Blackberry platforms by 2013 becoming the second largest smartphone platform. Only Nokia's Symbian will be on more phones sold that year.Technically, Symbian is a smartphone though a large percentage of its users never add a single third party application to it and many don't even bother to sync data with it. To me, that puts it in a separate class entirely. When most people think of smartphones, they think iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Android and Palm's WebOS.

Currently, the only platform that Android is beating is WebOS. Windows Mobile, the iPhone and Blackberry all sell more devices today. Electronista has a summary of the IDC report that foretells Android's rise. The rise is predicted because phone manufacturers that don't make their own operating system will gravitate towards the free Linux-based platform from Google. It is expected to supplant a pure Linux platform as well as Windows Mobile, which requires a licensing fee.

Don't count Windows Mobile out yet though. WinMo 7 is due this year. While a home run doesn't guarantee a long future, it does mean that it could reverse the fortunes of the past year or so where it has spun its wheels with 6, 6.1 and 6.5, all relatively minor updates to the 2005 release of WinMo 5. Microsoft's only hope of guaranteeing success for the future is to get serious about the platform and release major updates with true innovation more often than every few years.

The only platforms that are expected to really falter are Linux and WebOS. With Android available, there is little reason for most consumers to choose a pure Linux option. WebOS still has a big question mark over it as to whether or not it can reach critical mass. 2009 wasn't kind to the fledgling platform. 2010 will at least bring the platform to other major carriers.

As with all predictions, especially those three years out, take them with a grain of salt. Three years is a long time in the mobile space. Three years ago, Android, WebOS and the iPhone didn't exist. Windows Mobile was in a great position and RIM's Blackberry had very little consumer focus. I don't think three new platforms will pop up by 2013, but neither do I think that any predictions that far out are easy to make.

For $4,500 you can read the full report at IDC's site.

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