Android to be most popular smartphone OS in 2011 – Gartner

7 Apr 2011

Global smartphone sales this year are set to reach 468m units, up 57.7pc from 2010, while Android will become the most popular operating system by the end of 2011, Gartner said today.

According to the company, Android will have a 38.5pc share of the market this year and a 49.2pc share in 2012.

It said sales of open OS devices will account for 26pc of all mobile handset device sales in 2011, and are expected to surpass the 1bn mark by 2015, when they will account for 47pc of the total mobile device market.

“By 2015, 67pc of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of US$300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratised,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.

“As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers,” Cozza said. “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.”

Gartner predictions

Gartner is predicting that Apple’s iOS will remain the second-biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects an underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy, which will continue to limit adoption in emerging regions. iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average. This is driven by increased channel reach in key mature markets like the US and Western Europe.

Research In Motion’s share over the forecast period will decline, reflecting the stronger competitive environment in the consumer market, as well as increased competition in the business sector.

Nokia, meanwhile, is expected to push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013. Gartner said it has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia.

Gartner analysts said new device types will widen ecosystems. “The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner. This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices.

“Consumers who already own an open OS communications device will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphones,” she said. “This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices, as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don’t own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets.”

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