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In a week of CTIA-related mobile platform announcements, industry analyst Gartner predicts that in the next 39 months, Android will rise from less than 2% market share to 14% market share, becoming 2nd in the global market after Symbian.

I don’t buy it: 14% seems plausible, but I think it implausible to assume that neither iPhone nor BlackBerry will get to 14% by then, given their strong recent growth. Also, by some estimates RIM (RIMM) is already well above 14%.

But then, there is the spurious precision of the Gartner prediction for the year 2012 years from now that’s typical of the genre — which has Android edging out the iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile by a fraction of a percent (not 2011 or 2013).

As Computerworld reported:

The complete Gartner forecast for smartphone OSes by the end of 2012 puts Symbian on top with 203 million devices sold, and 39% of the market. Android will be second with nearly 76 million units sold, and 14.5% of the market.

Coming in a close third, the iPhone will ship on 71.5 million devices in 2012, giving a 13.7% market share. Windows Mobile will finish fourth, with 66.8 million units sold, or 12.8% of the market.

Very close behind Windows Mobile, the BlackBerry OS will sell on 65.25 million devices in 2012, Gartner forecasts, making it fifth with 12.5% market share.

Various Linux devices will sell 28 million units, at 5.4% market share, in sixth place. Palm Inc.'s (PALM) webOS will sell on 11 million units in 2012, about 2.1% of the market, in seventh place, Gartner says.

Why 62.25 million? Not 62.3 million or 61.9 million? This sort of precision is GIGO.

Last year, Gartner said Android will get 10% share in 2011. At least that’s an estimate of a single significant digit, without the pseudo-precision.

In the end, what was published is just a guess — maybe more of a WAG than a SWAG. It doesn’t take an industry analyst to predict that Android will grow rapidly, but how fast and what the natural limit is remain unclear.

This also points out the stupidity of point estimates. If we accept the calculation as an unbiased estimate, then it is more reasonable to say Android will have 8-20% market share in 2012.

Source: How Big Will Android Get?