As Google expands its reach beyond its core search engine and advertising businesses, the technology giant has had its share of successes and failures. One area where the company has found great success, however, is in the increasingly lucrative smartphone market. Google’s Android software is currently the most popular platform among smartphone users and according to a recently published report, Google’s market share could jump precipitously by 2012.
Industry watcher Gartner issued a report that states Android could grow from its current 31.2 percent market share to 38.5 percent by the end of 2011. Moreover, the reports posits Android’s market share will then rise to 49.9 percent by 2012. Considering Google is a relatively new player in the world of smartphones and tablets, the numbers are significant, analysts assert.
Such dominance amongst smartphone users would effectively give Google a leg up on its competition in the lucrative mobile advertising sector. Smartphones have surged in popularity over the past two years and in the fourth quarter of 2010, smartphone shipments outnumbered those of personal computers for the first time ever – and at a much faster pace than many industry watchers had expected.
Gartner principal analyst Roberta Cozza affirmed that “by 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized.” Google is well positioned to command an increasingly large market share as smartphone sales jump outside of the U.S. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets,” Cozza said.
Google offers its Android software free which has helped fuel its popularity and widespread adoption. Apple, on the other hand, will remain the second-biggest platform worldwide through 2014, according to Gartner, but the world’s most valuable technology company has historically been more interested in keeping its margins high than pursuing market share by lowering prices.
Research In Motion, maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphones, is projected to lose market share over the next few years as more offerings hit the market.