Can Android triumph over Symbian?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

By 2014, the worldwide mobile operating system (OS) market is likely to be dominated by Symbian and Android - with the two OSs accounting for approximately 59.8 percent of mobile sales.

However, the number one mobile spot will be hotly contested between the two warring platforms, as Android continues its formidable march forward and captures additional market share.

"Symbian will remain at the top of Gartner's worldwide OS ranking due to Nokia's volume and [its] push into more mass market price points," explained Gartner principal researcher analyst Roberta Cozza.

Can Android triumph over Symbian?"[Nevertheless], by the end of the forecast period, the [top] spot will be [fought over] with Google's Android, which will be at a very similar share level."

According to Cozza, communication service providers' (CSPs') marketing and vendor support for Android-based smartphones will "drive" the OS to become the second-largest (global) platform, following Symbian, by the end of 2010.

"The worldwide mobile OS market is [currently] dominated by four players: Symbian, Android, Research In Motion (RIM) and iOS.

"[Still], we believe that market share in the OS space will consolidate around a few key OS providers that have the most support from CSPs and developers, [as well as] a strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise customers."

Cozza also noted that manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Motorola are poised to launch numerous "budget" Android devices in 2H201 that will further propel the already popular OS into additional mass market segments.

"This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010...[And] by 2014, open-source platforms will dominate more than 60 percent of the market for smartphones.

"[In contrast], single-source platforms - such as Apple's iOS and Research In Motion's OS - will increase in unit terms, but their growth rate will be below market average and not enough to sustain share increase," she added. 



Forecast: Mobile Communications Device Open OS Sales to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

 OS

2009

2010

2011

2014

Symbian

80,876.3

107,662.4

141,278.6

264,351.8

Market Share (%)

46.9

40.1

34.2

30.2

Android

6,798.4

47,462.1

91,937.7

259,306.4

Market Share (%)

3.9

17.7

22.2

29.6

Research In Motion

34,346.8

46,922.9

62,198.2

102,579.5

Market Share (%)

19.9

17.5

15.0

11.7

iOS

24,889.8

41,461.8

70,740.0

130,393.0

Market Share (%)

14.4

15.4

17.1

14.9

Windows Phone

15,031.1

12,686.5

21,308.8

34,490.2

Market Share (%)

8.7

4.7

5.2

3.9

Other Operating Systems

10,431.9

12,588.1

26,017.3

84,452.9

Market Share (%)

6.1

4.7

6.3

9.6

Total Market

172,374.3

268,783.7

413,480.5

875,573.8

Source: Gartner (August 2010)