Last week, Gartner released an outlook for the 2012 operating systems market. While the current market leader Symbian is expected to remain on the top, the forecast around Android was of particular interest. Currently, Android runs on less than 2% of all Smartphone’s, but Gartner estimates that in three years time it will grow to become the second most popular Mobile OS.
Gartner supports this forecast on several arguments. First of all, Android is backed by Google, and the two brands operate in an open and creative environment, assumed to inspire innovation and development. It is worth to note the importance of Gartner’s place on this aspect, as the group actually revised their first outlook only a couple of days after it’s initial release, moving Windows Mobile from an original third place to a much less impressive fifth ranking following Steve Ballmer’s announcement of his disappointment in the company’s development team.
Gartner sees the current Smartphone market as heading in two directions, with Windows Mobile and Symbian focusing on tasks and communications, while iPhone concentrates on applications. Android is seen to mend these two markets, offering a complete solution.
Gartner also empathize how Android runs on phones from several handset manufacturers, in contrast to for example the iPhone OS. This is certainly an important point, just think about the number of Android handsets launched in just the past few months from a variety of manufacturers, such as Motorola and HTC. Moreover, they are distributed by different carriers, while Apple currently works exclusively with AT&T in the U.S.
Despite the strengths of these arguments, one should remember how much the mobile market can, and will, change in three years time. Think three years back from today, and many people didn’t know what an iPhone was.
Another aspect of the report is its most likely self-fulfilling effect. Gartner is an influential and trusted group, and if they believe in Android, so will the companies they advise.