The Android operating system may soon own nearly 50 percent of the smartphone market, Gartner said today.
But it’s next year that might just be the most eye-opening find in Gartner’s analysis. According to the company, more than 630 million smartphones will ship worldwide in 2012, and Android will own 49.2 percent of the market, easily dominating its second-place competitor, iOS, with 18.9 percent share. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating system will nab the third spot with 12.6 percent share of the smartphone space.
While Apple and Google seem to be splitting the smartphone market when it comes to market share overall, Android is beginning to open up a considerable lead when it comes to recent smartphone adopters.
According to data released by Nielsen on Tuesday, half of consumers who recently purchased a smartphone purchased an Android phone. This is twice the “recent acquirer” market share of Apple’s iOS, which made up 25 percent. The next-closest competitor was RIM, whose Blackberry devices pulled a 15 percent share.
This is a huge change from the last publicly available data from October of last year. At that time, iOS was king with a 28 percent share, followed by RIM with around 27 percent. At that time, Android had just under a 23 percent market share, according to Nielsen’s data.
The results certainly could give validation to the analysts out there who forecasted dramatic growth for Google’s mobile OS. Of course, some analysts have even gone as far as to say Windows Phone could make a run on Apple, a prediction that has been met with a good deal of skepticism from many tech pundits.
Not all is bad for Apple and iOS
Apple fans shouldn’t get too worked up about these results though: it still appears that the company does quite well when prospective smartphone buyers are asked which phone they want most. Thirty-one percent of consumers planning to get a smartphone in the next year plan on an Android device, versus 30 percent for the iPhone.
The numbers also don’t really include the full effect of the iPhone on Verizon, which no doubt will at least give Apple a small bump in market share numbers. Another interesting fact? One in five prospective buyers isn’t sure what to buy, meaning there is opportunity for Apple to gain additional traction.
According to the Share Market researcher, more than 296 million smartphones shipped last year. Out of that, Symbian secured 37.6 percent market share, followed by Android’s 22.7 percent share, and BlackBerry OS with 16 percent of the market. In 2011, the number of smartphone shipments around the world will explode to nearly 468 million units. That growth will help Android snag 38.5 percent market share by the end of the year, followed by Apple’s iOS at 19.4 percent, and Symbian at 19.2 percent, Gartner said.