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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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By Conner on 4/7/2011 1:12:04 PM , Rating: 3
As long as Apple has +70% developer market share I don't think things are going to change.
Another thing to note is Apple's recent success in China. They're not standing still and won't let Google or Microsoft take over their high-end market, in any part of the world.

RE: Ok...
By B3an on 4/8/2011 12:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
Well speaking as a developer obviously Apple wont have that many developers for much longer as the other OS's continue to grow and mature.
I think most devs will happily jump ship to other OS's when it's time as Apple makes us jump through too many hoops.

And many people dont even know about this yet... but with the upcoming Flash Player 11 this year with complete GPU hardware acceleration and access to DirectX/OpenGL it will have the ability to do console-level 3D graphics, this is going to bring a new era to the web for gaming, like Flash did with video, as now you'll be able to get some truly impressive looking games you can play in a browser on any device with Flash support. Instant cross platform capability. They can be free or payed for games (like a massive multiplayer MMO game all based inside the web browser), or ports of existing games (i've seen quickly ported Quake 3 running in Flash Player 11 pre-release), but it gives devs the ability to avoid stores and get 100% or atleast a higher cut of the sales.
Not saying all devs will start doing this, of course not, but some will definitely be drawn to it. It opens up many new possibilities and extremely easy customer access for delivering your games.
But one things for sure - none of this will available on any Apple iOS devices.

RE: Ok...
By Mr772 on 4/8/2011 7:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
Apps running on a web site that's the "real" reason apple doesn't support flash. It breaks their walled garden and lets people use apps through their browser that they didn't get from apple's app store.

RE: Ok...
By Conner on 4/8/2011 7:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
And many people dont even know about this yet... but with the upcoming Flash Player 11 this year with complete GPU hardware acceleration and access to DirectX/OpenGL it will have the ability to do console-level 3D graphics

Flash mobile is not optimized enough for anything. This is vaporware if I ever heard such a thing. It's hard to believe that flash will somehow magically become good enough to run on phone hardware and on top of that run more than a simple video stream.

And even if it is released, Adobe has their port Flash-to-iOS software.

So unless Google finds some magic way of releasing development software to solve all the fragmentation problems, I don't see your point.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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