By Ari Driessen
It’s not been two years since Google’s fledgling open source mobile operating system first debuted to lukewarm reviews powering T-Mobile’s G1, the world’s first Android device. Quietly stepping onto the smartphone stage with lofty – if seemingly impossible – dreams of taking on Apple’s iPhone OS and RIM’s firmly entrenched BlackBerry OS, Google’s Android OS was the unheard of underdog.
Fast forward to September 2010. Maturing at breakneck speeds, and storming onto every major U.S. carrier while making impressive strides abroad, the Android OS is expected to clench the No. 2 spot in global market share by the end of 2010 according to a report released by market research firm Gartner.
By year’s end, the report predicts that Android will claim a whopping 17.7 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, leapfrogging Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry. Registering just 3.9 percent market share at the same time last year, Google’s smartphone OS has eaten away at RIM’s global dominance, with BlackBerry market share expected to be nearly halved to 11.7 percent by 2014.
Although Nokia’s Symbian OS is a veritable unknown in U.S. markets, the No. 1 player worldwide, which claimed nearly 47 of the global smartphone market in 2009, is also feeling the heat. By 2014, Gartner predicts that Google’s operating system will be ready to challenge Symbian for the mobile market share top spot.
Google’s versatile and hugely customizable open source operating system has been embraced by mobile device manufacturer heavyweights including HTC, Motorola, LG and Samsung. An array of Android smartphones are now available on every major U.S. carrier, and many Android-powered devices are among Wirefly’s best sellers.