While the Google-backed Android mobile operating system currently runs on less than 2% of all smartphones, Gartner Inc. predicts it will surge to 14% of the global smartphone market in 2012 -- ahead of the iPhone, as well as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry smartphones.
In that year, Gartner forecasts Android will actually rank second globally, behind the Symbian OS, which is used in Nokia devices that are highly popular in Europe and many countries outside the U.S. Symbian now runs on about half of all smartphones, but will fall to 39% in 2012, Gartner says.
The complete Gartner forecast for smartphone OSes by the end of 2012 puts Symbian on top with 203 million devices sold, and 39% of the market. Android will be second with nearly 76 million units sold, and 14.5% of the market.
Coming in a close third, the iPhone will ship on 71.5 million devices in 2012, giving a 13.7% market share. Windows Mobile will finish fourth, with 66.8 million units sold, or 12.8% of the market.
Android will have moved up the most from 2009 to 2012, from sixth place to second. BlackBerry will have moved down the most, from second to fifth, while iPhone will remain in third position and Windows Mobile will remain in fourth position, Gartner says.