Analyst firm Telsyte has estimated that Android will triple its installed base in Australia this year, making it the fastest growing mobile platform.
Android will grow its installed base from 6 per cent to 18 per cent in 2011, the firm has predicted. This would continue the fast growth from last year clocked by research firm IDC.
Apple sat at 39 per cent last year and is slated to rise to a 42 per cent install base. BlackBerry was likely to sit flat at around 6 per cent, while Microsoft was set to drop by around 12 to 8 per cent, Telsyte believed.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 was "still a very niche platform", Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi said. He also doubted that manufacturers were mostly also making Android-based phones would spend much of their finite marketing resources promoting the platform, especially since it is proprietary and hence more expensive for them.
The cost, not only of handsets, but of apps, is increasingly becoming a factor in the smartphone market, the firm said, which gives Android an edge.
"Many of the same applications available in the Apple App Store are starting to appear in the Android Marketplace, often significantly cheaper or free of charge," Fadaghi said.
And the number of apps available was catching up to that on Apple's App store, according to Telsyte.
However, it considered that the challenge would be getting Apple users to switch to Android as most of the growth was being taken from Nokia and Microsoft. Telsyte's research has shown a high level of satisfaction among iPhone users.
Meanwhile, other platforms may suffer as developers only focus on the top marketplaces, with the research firm questioning the ability of Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and Symbian to attract developer attention.
"Tools are improving to publish across multiple platforms but few developers are expected to support all of them," Telsyte said.
This could lead to other platforms using virtualisation technology to run Android applications, the firm believed.
Telsyte estimated that 54 per cent of mobile phones shipped in 2010 were smartphones, equating to 4.8 million units, with a year-on-year growth rate at 65 per cent. The analyst firm estimated that 6.8 million smartphones will ship this year.