One of the more fun games to play in this industry is trying to guess which smartphones are going to be the most ubiquitous over the next couple years. Recently, research firm Gartner conducted a study to gauge the current trends and see which type of phone will stand atop the heap in the near future. Their prediction? Android will be the clear winner, powering nearly 50 percent of all smartphones by 2015.
On the one hand, it feels like a surprisingly high number as it’s hard to imagine any company really holding down half the mobile marketplace. Conversely, Android powers a lot of phones and the fairly open nature of the OS means that it can easily be adapted to any number of handsets. A large part of the smartphone population using Android right now probably doesn’t even realize it. In many respects, the greatest advantage Android has is just the fact it’s so ubiquitous.
What may be more surprising than the number one spot is who’s going to hold down the number two position. Everyone just assumes that the list will go Android and then Apple, but according to Gartner Microsoft may very well pass Apple over the course of the next few years. By 2015 the company projects Microsoft will control 19.5 percent of the market, while Apple trails at 17.2. What puts Microsoft in such a plum position? Nokia. The agreement between the companies allowing Microsoft to install its Windows 7 operating system into Nokia smartphones means a great deal considering just how popular Nokia handsets are worldwide. Even though Win 7 might be the new kid on the block it may gain enough momentum over the next few years to land solidly in second place.
Of course, projections like these have to be taken with the largest grain of salt you can find, particularly since we have no idea what may be around the corner. Will a future edition of iOS blow the competition out of the water? Will Microsoft make a play to snatch away some of Android’s business? Or, could another competitor be waiting in the wings, prepared to swoop in and take charge? Half the fun of this game is in guessing and predictions, so what are yours?