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Internet Friendly Android usage to surpass BlackBerry, iOS by year end
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Android usage to surpass BlackBerry, iOS by year end

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Android is on its way to taking the silver medal in mobile market share worldwide, and gold in North America—as long as the platform maintains its currently strong growth numbers. According to market research firm Gartner, the mobile world will be dominated by Symbian and Android devices by 2014, with RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS projected to come in third and fourth place, respectively.

Symbian will maintain its market dominance thanks to Nokia's sheer sales volume, while Android will outpace the rest of the competition because of the impending launch of "many new budget Android devices" by the end of 2010 that will help the OS get into the mass market. "Other players, such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola, will follow a similar strategy. This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010," wrote Gartner.

Gartner's predictions are based on Android's current growth trajectory, which has been explosive as of late. This year has already been filled with reports from other firms, such as AdMob and comScore, about Android's rise to the top at the expense of RIM and Apple, and there are undoubtedly more tales to come as Android phones continue to flood the marketplace.

Gartner's numbers have Android's share of the mobile market at 17.7 percent (up from just 3.9 percent in 2009), projected to grow to 29.6 percent by 2014. Comparatively, Symbian is expected to drop from 40.1 percent in 2010 to 30.2 percent in 2014—just enough to keep it on top, but probably not for long after that.

This isn't to say the other players won't be doing their share to boost smartphone sales in the years ahead. The firm says that the introduction of iOS 4.x, as well as the impending release of BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4, and Windows Phone 7 will all make positive contributions to smartphone growth.

Still, single-source platforms (iOS and RIM's OS) will only increase in unit terms and not share, and despite the widely anticipated release of Windows Phone 7, the firm projects it to only hold 3.9 percent of the mobile market in 2014. "By 2014, open-source platforms will continue to dominate more than 60 percent of the market for smartphones," Gartner said.

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