Analysts at Gartner predict Android will account for 14 percent of the global smartphone market by 2012, beating the iPhone into third place (13.7%) behind Symbian with 39 percent of the market.

These predictions mean departure of Google boss Eric Schmidt from Apple’s board was mandatory. Sure, he may have reclused his seat during iPhone discussions, but his company has pushed out a mobile OS that analysts believe will beat Apple’s iPhone.

Computerworld reports the analysis that Android will fully exploit Google’s network-based (“Cloud”) services, and that Google will continually – and rapidly – improve its mobile OS.

Additional factors designed to give Android a market edge include its open nature, which attracts developers, and its multi-device strategy, which means Android-powered devices from multiple manufactuers will widen the market for the smartphones. 2010 could see as many as 40 models of Android phone ship.

Another advantage is Google’s use of multiple user interface paradigms. While Apple focuses on applications, Symbian and WinMob focus on tasks and communications. And Google combines a little of both interface ideologies.

Android – and Apple – seem set to take market share from Palm and RIM, the analysts suggest, offering the following global market share break down for 2012:

– Symbian: 203 million handsets, 39 percent of the market;
– Google Android: 76 million handsets, 14.5 percent of the market;
– Apple iPhone OS: 71.5 million handsets, 13.7 percent of the market;
– Windows Mobile: 66.8 million handsets, 12.8 percent of the market;
– RIM BlackBerry OS: 65.25 million handsets, 12.5 percent of the market;
– Linux variants: 28 million handsets, 5.4 percent of the market;
– Palm webOS: 11 million handsets, 2.1 percent of the market.

Android currently runs on just 2 percent of all smartphones, Gartner claims.


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