A few days ago we reported on Android’s growth in the United States — despite the Verizon iPhone. That’s all fine and dandy, but how is Android doing in the rest of the world. Well, pretty great actually. Our favorite green robot buddy is on its way to become the dominant smartphone platform by a huge margin. According to Gartner, Android should end this year with a market share at around 40%. For comparison, the second-largest platform — Apple’s iOS — will end this year with a 19.4% share of the market. Moreover, the research firm predicts that Android will own around half the global market in 2015. Something I’m having a hard time agreeing with, but an incredible feat whatsoever if it happens.
One of those opponents that fell victim to the Android phenomenon is Symbian. Symbian’s decline is almost a mirrored image of Android’s growth — as seen in the graph above. Nokia fell completely asleep at the wheel, dismissing Android as a fad that it would go away eventually — boy, were they wrong. Two years later, Nokia is headed by an ex-Microsoft executive and had to partner with said company just to survive. In just two years, Nokia went from mobile powerhouse to Microsoft’s mobile hardware department. If something is an anything killer, Android is a Symbian killer. Gartner expects Symbian to have a 0.1% market share in 2015. Symbian, you’ve been assimilated.
As you can see on the graph above, Gartner believes that Android will stop growing at around 2012 (end of the world?) and stabilize. The reason? The research firm expects Microsoft’s Windows Phone to own almost 20% of the market in 2015 — stealing second place away from iOS. Gartner credits Windows Phone’s growth to the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia.
I’m very skeptical about this forecast for a few reasons. Firstly, Windows Phone 7 has been available for almost 6 months already, but has done nothing to turn around Microsoft’s declining market share. Put simply, people are not buying these things. Secondly, WP7 is right now aimed at the high-end section of the market, competing more with the iPhone than Android. Tell me where I can find the LG Optimus One of WP7, that’s right, nowhere. Those kinds of phones are the driving force behind Android’s growth. Believe it or not, not everybody wants or can buy the Motorola Atrix 4G. Most people want a cheap upgrade from their “dumbphones”, and that’s where Android excels. Due to Microsoft’s tight control of WP7 and standardized specifications, OEMs are not able to make cheap smartphones like the Huawei Ideos.
Lastly, Nokia might be very good at building excellent hardware, but these days software is becoming more important than hardware. Today, consumers care more about the amount of quality apps on your platform than the amount of megapixels your phones have — and software is Windows Phone 7′s weakest spot. Being at least one year or more behind Android and iOS. But I’m open-minded, I’ll reconsider my opinion once I see WP7′s market share go anywhere but down, which is what it’s doing now.
Android’s rise to the top is nothing short of breathtaking. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting impatiently for the Motorola Droid’s launch or reading about this new Google project named Android. In little more than two very short years, Android has gone from underdog to unstoppable destroyer of any who dares oppose it. But enough with what I think, I want to hear what you guys think. Do you see Android stopping at 50% of the market?