While the Google-backed Android mobile operating system currently runs on less than 17% of all mobile operating system, Gartner Inc. predicts it will surge to 29.6% of the global mobile operating system market by 2014 — ahead of iOS, as well as Windows Mobile and RIM (BlackBerry) mobile OS but second only to Symbian who will be managing 30.2% of global smartphone market by then and stay intact at No. 1 spot.
In 2008, Gartner reported that Symbian is loosing its market share slowly in U.S. and Europe. As per the latest report from Gartner, Symbian and Android will be controlling 60% of total mobile operating system market while the rest 40% will be distributed among Windows, RIM, iOS and few other OS.
But while working closely on Gartner latest report, I have seen few black spots which neither has been addressed nor analyzed. Those spots can have substantial impact on such predictions and its important to get them analyzed properly to understand the market trend in next few years. In my own view, I feel Android will derail Symbian from its growth path easily in next few years.
Going through the Gartner report itself, the predicted market share between Android and Symbian is marginal against the duration of 4 years. Google is constantly focusing on Android enhancement and development. Android has been widely accepted by multiple mobile manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson & Motorola. On the other hand Nokia has almost lost its focused ‘intentionally’ due to the factor of “MeeGo”, a platform which is currently under development in conjunction with Intel. Due to such moves, I see no major roll-out from Symbian in coming years which is a type of certain death.
At the same time to kill the competition and to ensure the maximum adoption of Android by other manufacturers, Google had smartly detached itself from the mobile manufacturing business and killed its own “NexusOne” mobile just few weeks ago. May be few analyst took this move as setback for company but for a long vision of success, Google has ensured the survival & success of Android by leveraging other mobile manufacturers’ network.
The worldwide mobile OS market is dominated by four players: Symbian, Android, Research In Motion and iOS,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Launches of updated operating systems — such as Apple iOS 4, BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4, and Windows Phone 7 — will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in 2H10 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.”
I don’t see much of Symbian phones running by 2014 besides few one here and there in U.S. but at the global level, I see Android will lead the mobile software OS market followed by Symbian and iOS. In the throat cut competition, mobile manufacturers are considering to launch low cost but feature rich smartphones now. This will give an extra edge to Android as platform suits for all types of mobile handset without any major restriction.
One another reason which makes me to stick with my own thought is Google’s interest in Mobile Market which is rising day by day. Their flagship service called Google search is facing stiff competition from Facebook and Twitter. In Social Media Facebook is slowly integrating most of the tools Google offers currently whether its “Pages”, “AdSense”, “AdWords” or public interest. Recently Google has been leged by Facebook to No.2 position in the list of most accessed website worldwide.
Google is Trying hard with its unofficially announced project Google Me – a competitor of Facebook but it is desperately hunting a new source of revenue generation which can replicate the success of Google Search in market. Revolution in mobile market has made Google to smell the success and that’s why company is working hard to have controlling capacity in mobile apps which is possible only through the mobile OS domination.
We’d place our bets on a highly customized low-end Android stack taking over the bottom of the world market, with the higher tier smartphone market still at play amongst the big players like iOS, Android, RIM and the upcoming Windows Phone 7. Four years is a long time in mobile phone years; we’ll just have to see how accurate these predictions prove to be in the future.