The Android will edge out Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS for all of 2010 to become the second best-selling mobile OS globally behind Nokia's Symbian, according to market research firm Gartner.
Gartner today also predicted that by 2014, Android will be neck-and-neck even with the Symbian OS, which is used in Nokia mobile phones.
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Android's move to second place by the end of this year is almost two years sooner than Gartner predicted just a year ago.
While Android has made quick advances in market share, Gartner said there will be a handful of major mobile OS players for a few years longer. They will include Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone 7, because of strong support from wireless carriers and application developers, Gartner said. Also, the major OSes will build strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise customers.
Still, IDC said Android has been the "wild card" in the smartphone race, especially with is inclusion in devices from HTC and Motorola that hit the market in 2009 and early 2010. Phones from Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics, and Samsung added Android as well.
Windows Phone 7 devices have not even shipped, but are expected to put that OS in fifth place through 2014, both Gartner and IDC said. But Windows Phone 7 will drop to sixth place behind MeeGo, a Linux project combining Intel and Nokia software, in 2014, Gartner added.
Gartner said open source platforms such as Android will dominate more than 60 percent of the market for smartphones by 2014, while the single-source Apple iOS and BlackBerry will grow at a rate below the market average until then.
Gartner's forecast for all of 2010 calls for Symbian to sell nearly 108 million mobile devices, including smartphones, reaching to 264 million in 2014. That would put Symbian at 40 percent of the market this year, dropping to 30 percent in 2014.
Android is expected to sell more than 47.4 million devices this year, or a 17.7 percent share, a number expected to explode to 260 million in 2014, with a 29.6 percent share, Gartner said.