Google's Android platform will inch past Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry operating system as the world's second largest smartphone platform this year--and will only keep growing from there, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.
Symbian, which is heavily backed by Nokia (NYSE:NOK), will remain the world's top smartphone platform by market share through 2014, Gartner said, but Android is set for an astronomical rise. According to Gartner, Android will capture 17.7 percent of the smartphone market this year, slightly more than BlackBerry's 17.5 percent share. Symbian will remain on top with 40.1 percent this year, while Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS will come in fourth with 15.4 percent of the market in 2010.
However, by 2014, Gartner said, Android will be poised to overtake Symbian, commanding 29.6 percent of the market compared with Symbian's 30.2 percent. In 2014, Apple will have 14.9 percent of the market and RIM will capture 11.7 percent, Gartner predicted. Microsoft's Windows Phone will be relegated to sixth place behind MeeGo by 2014, Gartner said.
Gartner's predictions on Android are more bullish than ones made earlier this week by research firm IDC. IDC predicted that in 2014 Android will have 24.6 percent of the market and BlackBerry will retain 17.3 percent of the market. IDC also has Symbian still leading with 32.9 percent market share in 2014.
Android has benefited during its first few years from support from dozens of carriers and handset makers worldwide, and is in the process of expanding from smartphones to tablets. Meanwhile, analysts have recently turned bearish on RIM's long-term prospects, noting that the company faces diminished growth opportunities with both consumers and enterprise users.
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