Android goes from underdog to top dog: Watch out Apple

The Android mobile OS is everything Google hoped it would be and everything Apple hoped it wouldn't.

Here's more evidence of Android's meteoritic rise to the top. According to market researcher Gartner, Google's fledgling open-source mobile operating system, barely a blip on the wireless radar a year ago, will grab the No. 2 spot in global market share by the end of 2010. Even more stunning is Gartner's prediction that Android will rival Symbian as the world's top mobile OS by 2014.

Certainly, Android phone manufacturers (and fans) will welcome Gartner's four-year forecast, which doesn't offer today's leading mobile OS vendors, Research In Motion (RIM) and Nokia, much to celebrate.

A Black Eye for BlackBerry

BlackBerry-maker RIM takes the hardest punch. RIM, which owned almost 20 per cent of the global mobile market in 2009, will see that share nearly halved to 11.7 per cent by 2014, Gartner predicts. And Nokia, which sells millions of Symbian-based phones (particularly in developing countries like India) won't be thrilled by the forecast either. Symbian, which owned nearly 47 per cent of the global market in 2009, will plummet to around 30 per cent four years from now.

For Android, however, the news is grand. Not only will it nudge RIM out of second place by the end of 2010, but it also run head-to-head with Symbian within four years-each with a 30 per cent share. (Gartner gives Symbian the slight edge, however.)

Open Source Rules

The mobile market will favor open-source operating systems (i.e., Android and Symbian) over single-source platforms such as Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry OS. While mobile sales for Apple and RIM will continue to rise, they won't be high enough to boost the platforms' global shares.   Apple, for instance, will have about 15 per cent of the market by 2014, a half-point drop from today, says the forecast.

Gartner is the second research firm this week to predict a rosy future for Android. IDC also forecasts that Android will rise to second place by 2014, although it expects Symbian to retain a comfortable lead--33 percent to Android's 25 percent.

The Wildcard:   Windows Phone

One notable difference between the Gartner and IDC forecasts concerns Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Gartner predicts Windows Phone will be an also-ran in four years with a meagre 4 per cent share, while IDC gives Microsoft's OS a healthy 9.8 per cent of the market-just a point behind iOS, in fact.

The disparity is strong indication that no one really knows how mobile customers will respond to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's new OS slated to debut on several third-party handsets within weeks.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags wireless technologyresearch in motionsymbianNokiaPhonessoftwareoperating systemsRIM BlackBerryPalmGartnerconsumer electronicsGoogle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?