With all of Apple’s iPhone buzz, you’d think that Symbian, the global smartphone marketshare leader would be looking at Cupertino over its shoulder. Not so, says Gartner via a Computerworld posting. Google’s Android is emerging as a big challenger over the next few years. By 2012, Gartner estimates Android will hold a 14% share globally, up from the 2% it owns today and a tad more than the 13.7% expected from Apple. That means that Apple will hold a good chunk of the market, but Android’s growth isn’t likely to come at much expense to Apple. Instead, Symbian’s loss is Android’s gain. To round out the other expecations, here are the estimates for the remaining platforms:
- Windows Mobile / Windows phone = 12.8%
- BlackBerry = 12.5%
- Various Linux = 5.4%
- webOS = 2.1%
Several factors play into Gartner’s estimations. The number of choices for Android handsets is gaining speed — it seems like everyone is getting in on the Android game these days. The more open nature when compared to Apple is appealing. And while not everyone has embraced Google services, they do offer a compelling option when paired with an optimized smartphone platform.
The recent video where James showed of the HTC Hero certainly has me more interested in Android than before. When the platform first arrived, it felt unfinished in terms of software, there wasn’t a wide assortment of apps and the hardware was more like 2006 than 2008. But the Android Market now boasts over 10,000 apps. And handsets like the Hero and Cliq look far better than the original G1. Although I don’t think I made a mistake with my Palm Pre — Gartner figures 11 million webOS devices sold in 2012 — I’m admittedly more intrigued by Android as each day passes. Not enough to add a third phone line, but intrigued nonetheless.
One bit that I’m wondering about in terms of Gartner’s estimates — have they accounted for Maemo, Nokia’s new mobile operating system that debuts on the N900? It could be that Maemo is lumped under the Linux share, but that would overestimate the overall impact that Google is having on Nokia.