Gartner, IDC: Bold But Overoptimistic Android-Friendly Forecasts?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on September 15, 2010

Gartner last week released a report which confirms Android’s growing popularity and predicts that Google’s mobile OS is well on track to become the world’s second largest smartphone operating system. The report also suggests that Android is on course to challenge Symbian as the world’s biggest mobile operating system by 2014. A recent report from IDC seconds these predictions by Gartner.

This isn’t the first, and definitely not the last report to make such bold predictions about Android’s dominance in the mobile OS world. Eric Schmidt said that Android is capable of earning $10 Billion a year. Past reports from comScore, Gartner (July) and Canalys have ruled heavily in favor of Android.

While I’m a staunch Google loyalist and an open source activist, I’m somewhat bemused by these predictions which have written off RIM and Symbian as sinking ships. Further, to assume that Apple will turn a blind eye to Android’s growth is impractical.

IMO, these predictions are bold but overoptimistic and I’ve my reasons to believe so.

The stats from Gartner are particularly interesting.  It predicts that Android will capture a 17.7 percent market share late this year, trailing only Nokia’s Symbian with 40.1 percent. It attributes the growth for Android and Symbian to be a direct result of their open nature. BlackBerry comes in third with 17.5 percent, followed by Apple’s iOS with 15.4 percent and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile with 4.7 percent. The report predicts a decline from BlackBerry in the next four years to come, down to 11.7 percent while Android’s share will shoot up to 30 percent. Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone will slip marginally from their current market share levels in another four years.

There’s no doubt that RIM and Nokia are in a spot of bother but it would be foolish to write them off. Microsoft is just beginning to scratch the surface again with its newly branded Windows Phone 7 operating system and it plans to spend billions of dollars in promoting its latest offering. As for Apple, the new iPhone 4 is a testimony of the company’s ability to deliver one bestseller device after the other.

I’m certain that Steve Jobs & co. is already contemplating a new business model to counter the Android invasion. The ‘single device, exclusive carrier’ agreement may have worked wonders in the past, but it needs to be given some serious second thoughts in the changing mobile OS landscape. Knowing the sheer genius of Steve Jobs, I’m certain that the Android vs. iOS battle won’t be easy pickings for Google.

This brings me back to the original question – Are these predictions overoptimistic on Android? What if Google screws up again on Android Market licensing or similar features? I’m no “Paul the Octopus” and in fact, I don’t read too much into these predictions anyway. What about you? Do you think Android will eventually crush all its competitors including iOS and Symbian? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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