WASHINGTON - Google's open-source Android will become the number two mobile operating system this year, leapfrogging BlackBerry and challenging market leader Nokia's Symbian by 2014, a according to new research.
The technology firm Gartner said Symbian and Android will account for 59.8 per cent of mobile operating system (OS) sales by 2014.
"Symbian will remain at the top of Gartner's worldwide OS ranking due to Nokia's volume and the push into more mass market price points," Gartner said.
"However, by the end of the forecast period, the number one spot will be contested with Android, which will be at a very similar share level," it said.
According to Gartner, Symbian will hold a 40.1 per cent OS market share at the end of 2010 followed by Android with 17.7 per cent, Research in Motion's BlackBerry with 17.5 per cent, Apple with 15.4 per cent for the iOS used by the iPhone and Windows Mobile from Microsoft with 4.7 per cent.
By 2014, Symbian's share will fall to 30.2 per cent while Android's will rise to 29.6 per cent followed by Apple with 14.9 per cent, Blackberry with 11.7 per cent and Windows with 3.9 per cent, Gartner forecast.
Symbian last year had a 46.9 per cent share of the OS market followed by Blackberry with 19.9 per cent, Apple with 14.4 per cent, Windows with 8.7 per cent and Android with 3.9 per cent, Gartner said.
Gartner said it expected handset manufacturers such as Samsung to launch a number of budget devices in the second half of the year using Android and for other players such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola to follow suit.
"This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010," Gartner said.
Nokia has named Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive, to head the Finnish telecom giant as it battles slumping profits and an eroding market share in the smartphone segment.