A Gartner report that leaked out this week predicts that Google Android will hold a 14.5 percent share of the mobile OS market (522 million unit sales) by the fourth quarter of 2012. That will put it second behind the Symbian system and its projected 39.0 percent share and ahead of Apple's iPhone OS, the current No. 2 mobile operating system.
The projected sales growth of Google Android is a reasonably safe guess given the increasing numbers of handset manufacturers and wireless service companies supporting the OS.
This week Verizon and Google struck a deal to develop and market two Android-powered mobile phones for the Verizon Wireless network. Those handsets are expected to be available in as little as a few weeks.
Also this week, Motorola was showing its upcoming Android-based Cliq handset at the CTIA show. Sprint will begin selling its second Android-based smartphone, the Samsung Moment, starting Nov. 1. And rumors persist that AT&T -- despite its tight relationship with Apple and its iPhone -- is preparing to debut an Android-based smartphone.
The Gartner report, which is expected to be released at the market research company's Symposium ITxpo the week of Oct. 18, predicts Android will gain 12.9 points of market share by the end of 2012, up from its current tiny 1.6 percent share. Android's rise will put it ahead of the iPhone's projected 13.7 percent market share (up from 10.8 percent today), according to a report on AppleInsider, which obtained a copy of the Gartner report.
This week Apple released the iPhone OS 3.1.2, an update to the popular iPhone's operating system that fixed several bugs, including one that occasionally kept the iPhone from waking up from sleep mode.
While the Symbian mobile operating system is expected to remain the dominant mobile OS with its 39.0 percent market share, that's down from its current 49.3 percent share.
Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS is expected to hold onto fourth place with 12.8 percent market share, up 2.5 points from today. This week Microsoft formally launched Windows Mobile 6.5, as well as a new online marketplace for applications that run with the operating system.
The big loser by 2012 will be the Research In Motion OS, which is expected to drop 7.4 points of market share to close 2012 with 12.5 percent of the market.