The graph above shows Android’s growth over the past 18 months in UK. Suffice to say that its growth is staggering. In 18 months it has managed to gain about 40% market share (50% totally), mostly at Nokia and Symbian’s expense, but also at the expense of Apple who is now stagnating around 20% or so. RIM has also remained more or less stable so far, but as I mentioned in the previous article, this will be short-lived if Blackberries don’t become competitive with Android phones and iPhones soon.

Android’s 50% market has also been achieved and surpassed in USA, and also globally. One in 2 smartphones being sold today run Android. With about double Apple’s market share, and some would say that will be enough for Android, but I think it will continue to growth up to 70% globally and at least 60%-65% in USA.

Why less in USA? Because the competition is more fierce there, and Apple had a good head start there. Plus it’s also where it’s the biggest concentration of Apple’s fanbase. This is why USA will continue to remain the strongest country for Apple percentage-wise. However, it will still probably stagnate around 30% or so.

So Google and Apple together should be able to own about 90%-95% of the market in USA, and similarly on a global scale. The only difference would be that Apple will have only about 20% globally and Android will have about 70% as early as next year. In most markets there are only 2 main leaders that dominate the market, with the rest fighting over scraps. Whether Android will grow even more than that after 2012, it remains to be seen. I think predictions for more than a year are pretty pointless, anyway.

But how will Google continue to grow its market share in the coming year? There are 2 ways, which is actually just one, because they are both about the lowering of Android smartphone’s prices. Let’s be clear about one thing. Android sets the benchmark in low-end smartphones right now. There aren’t many mobile operating systems to challenge Android at the low-end of the market. The only one is Bada, but that OS is still mostly a niche OS so far, and the biggest volume of low-end smartphones are still running Android. The lower the price becomes for these smartphones, the higher the volume will be, which means an increase in market share for Android.

The second point, which is related to this one, is that the carriers really love smartphones, because they cost more (compared to feature phones), and because they get to raise their average contract plan with them. People want data plans these days, and because they want smartphones, the subsidy will be significant, which means the plan will be more expensive than what they were used to.

The carriers will keep pushing smartphones to their customers, and most of the time that smartphone will be an Android smartphone, especially for people who want inexpensive contract plans. The carriers push of smartphones plus the ever lower low-end smartphone prices should help Android completely and undeniably dominate the market in 2012.

Source: The Guardian