Android Predicted To Surpass iPhone By 2012

iSuppli has forecast that 75 million smartphones will use Google's OS by 2012 and 62 million will use Apple's iOS.
Google's Android operating system will have a larger share of the global smartphone market than Apple's iPhone iOS by 2012, a market research firm predicts.

Android use is on track to be used in 75 million smartphones by 2012, up from just 5 million in 2009, iSuppli forecasted Thursday. Meanwhile, iOS will be in 62 million iPhones, up from 25 million last year. The Apple OS is only used today in the iPhone and iPad.

As the overall smartphone market increases, Android, which is used by multiple smartphone makers, is expected to increase share, while Apple's share decreases, the researcher says. By 2014, Android is expected to account for 22.8% of the smartphone OS market, up from 19.4% in 2012. In contrast, Apple's share will shrink to 15.3% from 15.9% in the same timeframe.

"Android is taking the smart phone market by storm," iSuppli analyst Tina Teng said in a statement. "The OS started with entry level models in 2008, but the flexibility Android offers for hardware designs and its appealing business model in terms of revenue sharing have attracted vigorous support from all nodes in the value chain, including makers of high-end smart phone models."

Mobile phone makers that have embraced Android include Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Huawei, AsusTek and ZTE. On the other hand, Apple is the only user of iOS.

But the big money for Google and Apple in the future will not be in handset sales, but in revenue from providing premium content, services, applications and advertising. While the market is in its infancy today, iSuppli says total revenue could exceed $100 billion in 2014.

However, Google and Apple are following very different strategies. While Google is trying to capture market share in the smartphone market, Apple is focused on hardware design that keeps the company in the high-end of the market.

As a result, competition will be less about hardware in the future and increasingly shift to applications, Apple's App Store vs. Google's Apps Marketplace, and advertising, Apple's iAd versus Google's AdMob, iSuppli said. In addition, the two will be battling with a variety of location-based services.

Other market researchers have also noted Android's rise in the smartphone market. The NPD Group reported Wednesday that Android in the second quarter became the leading smartphone OS in the United States, toppling Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS. Apple iOS was third.