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Windows Phone 7 is predicted to be the second largest smart phone OS, by market share, within four years.  (Source: Neowin)

Meanwhile, the Android army is also on the rise. Gartner predicts it will have almost a 50 percent market share by next year (2012).  (Source: DeviantArt)

Microsoft's struggling partner Nokia was recently surpassed by the second largest Android smart phone maker, HTC, in market cap.  (Source: Corbis / Joel W. Rogers)
Android estimated to hit near 50 percent; meanwhile, HTC passes Nokia in market cap

Gartner, Inc., one of the world's most respectable market research firms, has announced [press release] that its research supports our hypothesis that Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 smartphone OS will become the market's second largest player when the phase-out of Nokia Oyj.'s (NOK) Symbian OS is complete.  

In a research report released this week, it estimates that this year the platform will only rise modestly from 4.2 percent market share in 2010 to 5.6 percent in 2011 (still behind Symbian, in fifth place).  But by 2012 it will jump to a 10.8 percent, switching places with Symbian.  And three years later in 2015, it will have surpassed iOS and Research in Motion, reaching 19.5 percent market share, taking the #2 spot in world market share.

The report is most pessimistic about Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (RIM) prospects.  It predicts that RIM will fall from a 2010 peak market share of 16.0 percent to 11.1 percent by 2015.  It also predicts that Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS will rise this year, but fall by 2015.

Aside from Microsoft, the other big winner if Gartner's predictions hold true will be Google.  Gartner predicts that Google will rise from a narrow lead of 22.7 in 2010 world sales, to a dominant 49.2 percent market share by 2012.  

Variety of handset options, bleeding edge hardware, and a relatively strong brand image continue to drive Android sales upward even as some of its other competitors flounder.

On Wednesday in the Asian markets, Taiwan's HTC Corp. (2498) passed Finnish phonemaker Nokia in total market cap.  Market cap isn't the best measure of true performance or company reach (Apple recently passed Microsoft), but it does off a bit of a thermometer to the market's perception of a company.

HTC's cap hit $33.8B USD after shares rose 5.3 percent in the day's trading.  Nokia managed a modest 1.1 percent raise, with its cap closing at $33.6B USD.

Nokia ships far more phones than HTC.  HTC, currently Asia's second largest phone maker (in market cap), shipped 24.7 million handsets in 2010, according to Gartner.  By contrast, Nokia shipped 461 million units last year.

However, HTC's phones are largely high-profit smartphones, whereas Nokia's sales are still heavily driven by low-margin older phone designs.  In that regard the companies are much closer in profit than the sales numbers might indicate.  HTC's operating margin, a measure of profitability was 16 percent during 2010's final calendar quarter, while Nokia's was 7 percent.

Traders' valuation of HTC may also be based on the fact that the company has a great deal of upward momentum.  Nokia, meanwhile, has a degree of downward momentum as it tries to make the painful transition from Symbian to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

HTC's rise in the smartphone market has been nothing short of meteoric.  The largely unknown device maker has risen to become one of the premier Android smart phone makers, trailing only South Korean giant Samsung Electronics (005930).  Its success largely owes to its decision to fully throw its support behind the "winning horse" in the smartphone race -- Android.

The company does face some threats, though, such as Chinese Android phone-maker ZTE (000063).



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RE: So...
By omnicronx on 4/7/2011 10:38:54 AM , Rating: 2
They predicted no such thing. They said Google would be #1 with ~50% share, and MS would be #2 (not half the market) at ~20%.

They are predicting that Apple share will go down, and will help make up that last 30%.


RE: So...
By MeesterNid on 4/7/11, Rating: -1
RE: So...
By Flunk on 4/7/2011 11:02:27 AM , Rating: 5
No, he's perfectly right. He said Apple would make up part of the remaining 30% of the market. Which includes all other OSes. Since they mention elsewhere in the article they expect Blackberry to retain 10% that means that iOS is fighting for that last 20% with everyone else.

Learn to read first before criticizing.


RE: So...
By StraightCashHomey on 4/7/2011 6:13:11 PM , Rating: 1
Lol.. what a jackass. Bet you wish there was an edit button.


RE: So...
By quiksilvr on 4/7/2011 11:11:07 AM , Rating: 2
FOMP (Fail On My Part)

I misread the article, good catch.


RE: So...
By Calin on 4/7/2011 11:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
Mobile phones are not what they used to be, Apple just found a new profit center with the iPad. As the iPod is no longer the halo product it once was, its place was taken by iPhones and now iPads. I wonder what's coming in the next 5 years...


RE: So...
By Da W on 4/7/2011 11:28:56 AM , Rating: 2
Chips implant in your brain


RE: So...
By dark matter on 4/7/2011 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 1
A massive oil shortage, resistance to anti-biotics, increased global instability and most likely the utter collapse of the global banking industry.

In short; World War 3


RE: So...
By callmeroy on 4/7/2011 2:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
Happy times....keep those positive thoughts rolling along....


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