With rapid strides being taken in the mobile phone industry in the past few years, how will the different mobile phone platforms of today stack up against their rivals in the future?
According to a study released by Gartner today, Android could well be moving up the table to become the platform with the second highest market share, ahead of the iPhone, by 2012.
The Gartner forecast predicts the market leader Symbian to fall down by close to 10 percentage points by 2012 to reach a 39% market share. Android, which runs on close to 2% of smartphones today could see a huge surge in sales and attain a 14.5% market share in the same time period. The competition between the iPhone and Android could be pretty close with iPhone achieving a market share of 13.7% by 2012 while Windows Mobile and Blackberry would fill in the bottom two rows of the top five list with 12.8% and 12.5% market shares respectively.
So what exactly could be helping Android to rise to such high popularity in such a short time period? According to Ken Dulaney, a distinguished analyst at Gartner Research, there are three main reasons for this. Firstly, Dulaney attributes this to Android's backing by a company as big as Google. With a variety of cloud based applications developed for the Android, it could well become the smartphone platform of choice. The second factor that could help Android is the open environment it is being built upon which can easily help it score over a closed platform like iPhone that is developed in-house. The third factor that could come in Android's favor is the variety of handset manufacturers who will be launching Android handsets that could well propel the market share up. Dulaney predicts close to 40 models of Android devices to be shipped in 2010 alone.
All this however should not get Apple unduly worried. Unlike the market leader Symbian or the Android, iPhones are built with solid margins on sales which means that while Apple could be losing out in market share based on the volume of handsets shipped, the company could still prove to be a winner based on profit margins.
Will iPhone still hold the competitive edge in 2012 and do you see yourself still owning an iPhone till then? Please do let us know in the comments.