Android and Windows 7 to overtake Blackberry and iPhone by 2012- Gartner


Nearly half of the world's smartphones will be using Google's Android operating system by the end of 2012, according to the research firm Gartner. Google will lead the race with Apple, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) and Microsoft by the end of this year and take 49.2% of the market in 2012, according to the research firm’s forecast.

The report also went on to predict that Nokia's tie-up with Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system would also be a success, with a 19.5% share of the smartphone market by 2015 – leapfrogging its rivals to the number two spot. Worldwide smartphone sales are expected to reach 468m units in 2011 – a 57.7% increase on 2010.



The explosive growth in affordable smartphones will see annual sales top 1.1bn by 2015, Gartner said. Sales of PCs, by comparison, will reach 387m this year, a 10.5% increase on 2010, the research firm predicted last month .

In line with other analysts' forecasts, Gartner expects the battle for smartphone supremacy to be a four-horse race, with no one company enjoying a huge market share before 2015.

Google's Android will lead the smartphone market in 2012 with a 49.2% share, Gartner said, with Apple's iOS – which only runs on the iPhone, unlike Android which is used by a growing number of manufacturers – making up 18.9% and BlackBerry slipping to 12.6%.

By 2015, Android will enjoy a 48.8% share of the market, ahead of Windows Phone 7 on 19.5%, iOS on 17.2% and BlackBerry on 11.1%. Nokia's once-dominant Symbian will shrink to 0.1% of the market in this period, as its Finnish maker switches to Windows Phone 7 on higher-end handsets.

Roberta Cozza, a principle analyst at Gartner, said the forecast represents a smartphone market "truly democratised" by the booming emergence of Android since 2009. "As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers," Cozza added.

"Android's position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets."

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