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Apple to Pass RIM in Smartphone Market Share This Year

Google’s Android to Top All Operating Systems by 2012

NEW YORK, NY (Jan 27, 2011)—Apple is expected to pass Research In Motion as the leader of the US smartphone market in 2011—but not for long. Google’s Android platform will overtake both Apple and RIM in 2012, according to a new forecast by eMarketer.

eMarketer, which bases its forecast on a meta-analysis of research estimates and methodologies from several firms who track the smartphone market, estimates Apple took a 28% share of the US smartphone user market in 2010, just above the 24% of users who use a device running Google’s Android platform.

Research In Motion’s share of the market is expected to decline to 25% in 2011, down from 30% in 2010.

Android will continue to gain share through 2012, when 31% of all smartphone users will own a device running the Google OS. That same year Apple’s share of the market will hold steady at 30%, up only slightly from 2009.

“The open-source Android OS requires no licensing fee and allows handset manufacturers and wireless carriers considerable latitude to customize the user interface according to their desired specifications,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer principal analyst and author of a forthcoming report on mobile devices. “With a growing roster of manufacturer and carrier partners in every major market and market segment, scale for Android is coming quickly in terms of device, market share, apps and ad revenues.”

Figures from several research firms show just how fast that scale has come. Between 2009 and 2010, Android grabbed a significant slice of the pie, mostly at the expense of Research In Motion and other non-Apple handsets.

“Ultimately, the winner, if there is one, matters less than marketers’ ability to make the most of the growing number of smart devices to deliver rich, engaging experiences for consumers,” said Elkin.

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Posted on January 27, 2011.