Gartner: Symbian, Android to dominate in 2014

Market researcher predicts that within a few years Google's Android OS will be a close second in the contest to be the most popular mobile operating system in the world.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Symbian and Android will dominate the mobile operating system market by 2014, research firm Gartner said Friday.

Gartner expects that Symbian and Android together will account for 59.8 percent of the total worldwide mobile OS market by 2014, split almost equally--Symbian with 30.2 percent, and Android with 29.6 percent.

Android is already closing the gap with the market leader. By the end of 2010, Gartner says, Google's Android will sneak into second place behind Nokia-backed Symbian with 17.7 percent market share, compared to Symbian's 40.1 percent. At the end of 2009, Android OS had just 3.9 percent market share, the research firm reported.

Gartner's predictions don't bode well for RIM's BlackBerry OS and Apple's iOS. Those platforms, which ended 2009 with 19.9 percent and 14.4 percent of the market, respectively, are expected to take the third and fourth spots this year. In fact, Gartner believes RIM will end the year with 17.5 percent market share, while Apple will capture 15.4 percent of the space. Windows Phone will trail far behind with just 4.7 of the market.

But by 2014, when Symbian and Android will be soaring, Gartner expects BlackBerry OS to have just 11.7 percent of the mobile market and iOS to own 14.9 percent.

Gartner thinks Symbian will still lead the mobile market in 2014 due to "Nokia's volume and the push into more mass-market price points." Android's success can be attributed to "communication service providers' marketing and vendor support," Gartner said.

The research firm's findings echo what fellow market researcher IDC announced earlier this week. IDC likewise said that Android OS will take the second spot behind Symbian in 2014, but it pegged Android's worldwide market share at 24.6 percent, compared to Symbian's 32.9 percent. It also believes that Apple's iOS platform will be lower than Gartner's predictions, capturing 10.9 percent of the worldwide market in 2014. RIM's BlackBerry will have 17.3 percent of the mobile market in 2014, IDC predicted.

Of course, four years is a long time. And things can change. Nowhere is that more evident at the moment than at Nokia. Late Thursday night, the company announced that it is appointing Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's Business Division, as its new CEO. Nokia said that Elop will help lead its "substantial transformation" from a hardware company to a software company.