IDC: Android to be No. 2 mobile OS by 2013

Google's Android mobile operating system will become the second most-popular mobile platform by 2013, according to a new report.

Google's Android mobile operating system will become the second most-popular mobile platform by 2013, according to a new report by IDC.

Who will continue to rule the cell phone roost? Symbian, according to the research firm.

By 2013, IDC forecasts that worldwide shipments of smartphones will surpass 390 million units, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 20.9 percent.

"Mobile operating systems have become the key ingredient in the highly competitive mobile device market. Although the overall look and feel of the device will still play an important role in the buying process, the wrong choice of operating system coupled with an awkward user interface can mean the difference between success and failure," said Stephen D. Drake, vice president, Mobility and Telecom, in prepared remarks.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Symbian will remain the No. 1 mobile OS worldwide, thanks to Nokia's strength outside the U.S.
  • Android will experience the fastest growth of any mobile operating system: from 690,000 units in 2008 to 68.0 million units by 2013 (that's 150.4 percent compound annual growth).
  • Linux and webOS handsets "will struggle." Android will suck most of the life out of other Linux platforms and Palm's webOS, despite steady growth, will be limited by restrained deployment and availability of devices across multiple carriers.

No mention of BlackBerry overlords RIM in the announcement, but judging by Android's growth, that's not a good sign for them, either.

Either way, there's no way development market can sustain so many different platforms. And with Symbian (and Nokia) resting on its innovation laurels, it's no surprise Android stands to benefit.

The IDC report is called "Worldwide Mobile OS 2009-2013 Forecast and Analysis."