Smartphone sales set to soar in 2011
Gartner expects Android to be most popular OS worldwide by end 2011
Smartphone sales are set to rise by 56.6% to reach 468 million units in 2011, according to Gartner. The company has also predicted that by the end of 2011, Android will be the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide.
Gartner has released a report that shows that the Android operating system is likely to capture 49% of the smartphone market by 2012. Android's fight for supremacy in the market will also mean a drop in Android smartphone prices, making the units more accessible to all.
"By 2015, 67% of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratised," said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.
"As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers," Cozza said. "Android's position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets."
The report also shows that sales of open OS devices will make up 26% of all mobile handset device sales in 2011 and sales are expected to account for 47% of the total mobile device market, with sales passing the one billion mark by 2015.
Apple iOS will not lose its grip on the top tier though, with Gartner predicting that Apple's iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014. However, its share will decrease slightly after 2011.
Gartner's underlying assumption is that Apple will be more interested in maintaining margins than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy.
This means that the adoption of Apple's iOS will continue to be limited in the lower income bracket and emerging regions.
According to Gartner, the iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average, driven by increased channel reach in established markets such as the US and Western Europe.
Gartner has revised its forecast of the Windows Phone market share, pushing it upwards after the announcement of the Nokia, Microsoft alliance.
Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, according to Gartner. This push will help the platform become the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013.
Due to stronger competition in the consumer market and business sector, Research In Motion's share over the forecast period will decline.
Gartner has also factored in RIM's migration from BlackBerry OS to QNX which is expected in 2012.
Gartner analysts have predicted that new types of devices will open up the OS market for smartphones.
"The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created. This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
"Consumers who already own an open OS communications device will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphone," Milanesi said. "This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don't own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets."