Android, Symbian To Dominate Smartphone Market By 2014

Gartner projects lackluster growth for Apple's iOS and declining market share for RIM's BlackBerry OS and Microsoft's Windows Phone over the next four years.
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Google Android and Nokia Symbian will be the dominating operating systems in the global smartphone market by 2014, with Android close to being No. 1, a market research firm says.

Symbian's 30.2% market share in four years will be driven by Nokia's standing as the world's largest mobile phone maker, selling product from the low end to the high end of the smartphone market, Gartner said Friday. While Android is mostly found in the high end of the market today, the multiple vendors selling Android phones are expected to expand into the other tiers by 2014, when the OS will have a projected 29.6% share.

However, market share changes for the two OSes will be heading in opposite directions over the five years covered in the report. While Symbian will fall from 46.9% in 2009, Android will soar from 3.9%, as Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola expand the OS into phones with different price points. In terms of market share, Apple's iOS will appear lackluster with a 14.9% share in 2014, compared to a 14.4% share in 2009. However, the numbers are deceiving, because iOS is driven by a different business strategy than Symbian and Android.

Where Symbian and Android are expected to be found in all market segments, Apple is expected to keep its iPhone, the only mobile phone using the iOS, at the high end of the market. At the same time, the overall market is expected to increase dramatically from 172.4 million smartphones in 2009 to 875.6 million units in 2014.

Over the five-year period, the number of iPhones sold is expected to rise from 24.9 million to 130.4 million units, "which is a pretty remarkable number for one vendor," Gartner analyst Hugues De La Vergne told InformationWeek.

The remaining two leading smartphone OSes include Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS and Microsoft's Windows Phone, formerly Windows Mobile. Both operating systems are predicted to have a smaller share of the market in four years than last year.

The BlackBerry OS, which is only used in RIM's BlackBerry smartphones, will account for 11.7% of the smartphone market in 2014 from 19.9% last year. In terms of units shipped, the number of BlackBerries sold will increase from 34.4 million in 2009 to 102.6 million in 2014.

Windows Phone will have a far smaller share of the market. The OS will be found in 3.9% of all smartphones in 2014, compared to 8.7% in 2009. In terms of units, that translates into 15 million last year to 34.5 million in 2014.


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