Computerworld reports that research firm Gartner is forecasting significant growth in Google's Android operating system for smart phones, noting that it expects Android to surpass Apple's iPhone to claim the number two spot behind Symbian OS with 14.5% of the global smart phone market by 2012.

While the first Android product release, the T-Mobile G1, only won a lukewarm response, Android 1.5 (code-named Cupcake) is well thought-out, Dulaney said. Other expected improvements in Android for its application store and development environment will be "backed by the power of Google's search engine," he said. "Google's other up-and-coming consumer and enterprise products should make[Android] a dominant platform."

And because Android and Google operate in an "integrative and open environment, [they] could easily top ... the singular Apple," he said.

Android will also run on phones from several manufacturers, helping its growth, especially when compared to the iPhone, Dulaney said. In 2010, as many as 40 models of Android devices will ship, and the next OS update, code-named Donut, will ship in the second quarter, Dulaney predicted.

The predicted margin is small, however, with Apple predicted to grab 13.7% of the smart phone market in 2012. Both companies are forecasted to take significant share from Symbian, which currently holds approximately 50% market share but is expected to fall to 39% over that time.

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