Android will continue to pick up global smartphone market share in 2011 and beyond, likely in emerging markets, according to numbers released today by Gartner.
By the end of 2011, Gartner projects that Android will move to become the most popular smartphone platform worldwide and will build on its strength to account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012.
And while Nokia’s Symbian devices may not exactly be on the top or everyone’s wish list, Gartner predicts that Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013.
Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia. Although this is an honorable performance, it is considerably less than what Symbian had achieve in the past underlying the upward battle that Nokia has to face.
Meanwhile, the firm predicts that Apple’s iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects Gartner’s underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy.
Apple’s strategy will continue to limit iOS adoption in emerging regions, which is exactly where the firm sees Android finding room to grow. “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,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, in a press release.
Gartner says worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner. Sales of open OS devices will account for 26 percent of all mobile handset device sales in 2011 and are expected to surpass the 1 billion mark by 2015, when they will account for 47 percent of the total mobile device market.
“By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized,” Cozza said.
Gartner analysts said new device types will widen ecosystems. “The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created. This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Milanesi asserts that consumers who already own an open OS smartphone will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphone. “This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don’t own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets,” she said.