The global mobile operating system (OS) market is set to be dominated by Symbian and Android, according to Gartner’s latest figures.
By 2014, the two OSs will account for 59.8 per cent of all mobile OS sales the market-watcher has claimed.
Top spot in the global rankings will be hogged by Symbian in the early part of the period, due to Nokia’s volume and push into more mass-market price points. But by the end of the forecast period, the number one player will have Android breathing on its heels with a similar market share level.
The race by communication service providers to supply marketing and vendor support for Android-based smartphones will bring the platform to the fore two years earlier than Gartner previously predicted, with it being the second largest platform by year end 2010.
Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “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 OS6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4 and Windows Phone 7, will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in the second half of 2010 and 2011, and spur innovation.
“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,” she added.
Gartner said it expects manufacturers such as Samsung to launch many new budget Android devices in the second half of 2010 that will drive Android into mass market segments. Other players, such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola, will follow a similar strategy.”
Cozza added: "CSPs and mobile device manufacturers alike will need to revisit their platform strategies and balance the need to pursue platforms with the highest current demand against the need to maintain differentiation with unique devices. CSPs will likely reduce the number of platforms they offer, to reduce their support costs and clarify their propositions to market."
The analyst also predicts that by 2014, open-source platforms will continue to dominate more than 60 per cent of the market for smartphones. Single-source platforms, such as Apple's iOS and RIM’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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