Android most popular OS by end of this year: Gartner

49 per cent market share for Android, RIM to lose share to Windows Phone 7.

Android will become the most popular mobile operating system worldwide by the end of this year, according to analyst firm Gartner.

In a new smartphone forecast, Gartner predicted that Android will account for 49 per cent of market share by 2012, with principal analyst, Roberta Cozza, saying the decrease in smartphone prices will have an influence in such domination.

“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.”

Despite open operating system devices predicted to take some 62 per cent of the Australian mobile device market share this year, this number will only reach 47 per cent worldwide by 2015, Cozza said.

“By 2015, 67 per cent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratised," she said.

Despite challenging Apple’s share of the market, iOS will take second prize as the second biggest platform worldwide, with Gartner’s research vice president, Carolina Milanesi, saying that Apple's market share will decrease slightly from next year.

“The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created,” Milanesi said.

“This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices.”

Despite recent reports that a loss in market share wont affect the number of units RIM will ship, Gartner predicts the market share of RIM is set to decline over the forecast period, due to Nokia’s recent investment in Windows Phone 7 pushing Microsoft's offering into third place worldwide by 2013.

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