Gartner: Android & Symbian Tops in Smartphones by 2014

Google’s Android platform will have passed both Apple’s iOS and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platforms to be the #2 smartphone platform by the end of 2010, according to new projections released by research firm Gartner. According to those projections, Android will continue its rise through 2014, when it will be all but tied with Nokia’s Symbian platform for the top spot. iOS will have moved past BlackBerry by then to be #3.

“Gartner expects manufacturers such as Samsung to launch many new budget Android devices in 2H10 that will drive Android into mass market segments,” the company said in a statement. “Other players, such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola, will follow a similar strategy. This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010.”

Nokia has long been the world’s top handset maker, and it was one of the first company’s to offer a smartphone OS, Symbian. In 2009, Symbian owned 46.9% of the market, while BlackBerry was #2 with 19.9% of the market. Apple’s iPhone OS (now iOS) was swiftly growing, and had risen to the #2 spot with a 14.4% share, leaving newcomer Android a distant 5th place showing with 3.9%.

In the chart below, Gartner projects that Android will have grown to own 17.7% of the market by the end of this year propelled by wide variety of handsets offered by most of the world’s carriers. Apple’s unit sales continue to grow in Gartner’s projections, and that will be enough to push Apple past BlackBertty in 2011 for a firm hold on the #3 position.

By 2014, Nokia’s share will have shrunk to 30.2%, while Android’s 29.6% will challenge Nokia for the top spot. It will also be the first year that Apple’s share falls, even though its unit sales will have almost doubled since 2011.

Gartner Chart

Source: Gartner

“Gartner predicts that by 2014, open-source platforms will continue to dominate more than 60 percent of the market for smartphones,” the company said. “Single-source platforms, such as Apple’s iOS and Research In Motion’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.”