Gartner: Windows Phone could surpass BlackBerry, challenge iPhone


Orlando, Fla.--If the alliance between Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) goes well, the Windows Phone should be set to take the number three position in the smartphone market, surpassing Research in Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry by 2013 or 2014, and matching Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone market share by 2015, predicted David Cearley, vice president and fellow at Gartner.

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android is expected to keep the top position, Cearley noted.

Smartphones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide next year, Cearley told an audience at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo being held here this week.

By 2015, media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments and Windows 8 will likely be in third place behind Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating systems, Cearley said.

Consumerization will mean enterprises will not be able to force employees to give up their iPads or prevent the use of Windows 8. Enterprises will need to support a variety of form factors, reducing the ability to standardize PC and tablet hardware, he added.

The implications for IT are that in an era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is just one of a variety of environments IT will need to support.

"We expect Windows 8 will remain relatively niche and more attractive to organizations than individual consumers. Developers of corporate applications should consider Windows tablet as a target device in 2013," he said.

In addition, Cearley observed that the market for tools to create consumer and enterprise facing apps is complex, with well over 100 potential tools vendors. For the next few years, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile applications, so expect to employ several, he noted.

Six mobile architectures--native, special, hybrid, HTML 5, Message and No Client--will remain popular. However, there will be a long-term shift away from native apps to Web apps as HTML5 becomes more capable, the Gartner analyst said. Nevertheless, native apps will not disappear, and will offer the best user experiences and most sophisticated features, he added.

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