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September 13, 2010

Android to challenge Symbian for top position by 2014: Gartner

Symbian and Android projected to account for 60% of mobile OS sales by 2014

By CBR Staff Writer

The worldwide mobile operating system (OS) market will be dominated by Symbian and Android, as the two OSs will account for 59.8% of mobile OS sales by 2014, according to a new report by information technology research and advisory firm Gartner.

The research house said that Symbian will remain at the top of its worldwide OS ranking due to Nokia’s volume and the push into more mass market price points.

However, by the end of the forecast period, the No. 1 spot will be contested with Android, which will be at a very similar share level.

Gartner said that communication service providers’ (CSPs’) marketing and vendor support for Android-based smartphones will drive the platform to become the second-largest platform, following Symbian, by year-end 2010.

Gartner principal research analyst Roberta Cozza said that the worldwide mobile OS market is dominated by four players: Symbian, Android, Research In Motion and iOS.

"Launches of updated operating systems – such as Apple iOS 4, BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4, and Windows Phone 7 – will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in 2H10 and 2011 and spur innovation," Cozza said.

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"However, 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 and strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise customers."

Gartner expects manufacturers such as Samsung to launch many new budget Android devices in 2H10 that will drive Android into mass market segments.

It expects that other players, such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola, will follow a similar strategy, which would help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010.

The market observer predicts that by 2014, open-source platforms will continue to dominate more than 60% of the market for smartphones.

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.

Windows Phone will be relegated to sixth place behind MeeGo in Gartner’s worldwide OS ranking by 2014.

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