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Android to Be No. 2 Mobile OS by 2012?

gigaom_icon_google-android2Google’s (s goog) Android operating system is set for iPhone-trajectory sales over the next few years, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said in a report yesterday from Computerworld, and will be the second-ranking smartphone OS globally by 2012. Gartner predicts Android’s share of the smartphone market will grow to 14 percent from less than 2 percent in the next three years as Symbian’s slide from dominance continues.

That kind of performance would mirror Apple’s staggering success over the last two years. Apple launched its first-generation iPhone in the U.S. in 2007 and quickly took the worldwide market by storm; the iPhone OS enjoyed a global market share of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2009 and has watched its footprint continue to expand. But while there’s no denying Android’s momentum, overtaking Apple (s aapl) in just a few years seems like a monumental task.

Dulaney makes a compelling case: A slew of handset vendors are jumping aboard the Android bandwagon (largely at the expense of Windows Mobile), the platform has effectively grown its developer community, and it now has the backing of America’s largest mobile network operator. And Android is built on open-source technology, Dulaney noted, giving it a decided edge over Apple’s proprietary platform.

However, the iPhone remains the overwhelming device of choice for smartphone users, and is increasingly being offered by carriers around the world. And while Apple pretty much had the benefit of being a first mover in offering a consumer-friendly, Internet-capable smartphone, Android is battling it out not just with Apple but also with Research In Motion’s (s rimm) BlackBerry, Palm’s (s palm) webOS and others. Android may appear to be an irresistible force, but the field is wide open in these early days of the superphone.

17 Responses to “Android to Be No. 2 Mobile OS by 2012?”

  1. It’s not about just the software, like Microsoft, or hardware, like Motorola. It’s about total use experience. What it matters to Apple is iPhone be the best in total experience.

  2. “If only Google could overcome religion and bake in really good Exchange support to the Google branded variants of Android….” and i thought the mytouch3g, hero and others already have that. also, saying religion maybe too strong a word, i’d rather settle for philosopy.

    • Hi Nom, I think the way it works is that android comes in different versions, the purest being Google Experience Android or somesuch, which I believe does not include such Exchange support. Fortunately OEMs such as HTC view ActiveSync or something much like it as being a key feature and increasingly are baking in their own versions.

      Please forgive if I am mistaken.

  3. just some dude

    yeah app store now was screen shots too, pretty cool. donut 1.6 rocks. I think 2010 will be a big year for android, and 2011 sounds more accurate for android to be neck and neck with the iPhone, with android taking over around 2012.

  4. Moving forward it is hard to imagine a world where Android has not taken a big chunk of the smartphone market, particularly on the lower end. Let’s face it, device makers are hugely sensitive to cost and Android has a huge advantage there – it costs nothing. This is going to be almost irresistible for up and coming Chinese makers struggling at the bottom of the market and should be irresistible for the Motorolas and Sony Ericssons of the world. Were it not a political/control of destiny thing, it would have been a no-brainer for Nokia to run with Android as well. Instead we will get fragmentation, with some Nokias still shipping with Symbian and the introduction of Maemo to the mass market, adding another linux variant where there was no particular market demand. Interesting to see some of the Japanese, who you would otherwise expect to be big into LiMo, express interest in Android. If only Google could overcome religion and bake in really good Exchange support to the Google branded variants of Android….

    Just installed Donut on by G1, seems faster, Appstore is white instead of black…..