Google’s Android set to become #2 mobile OS by year’s end

Google-Android-MobileMarket research firm Gartner is predicting that Google’s Android will have become the second-best-selling mobile operating system by the end of 2010, surpassed only by Nokia’s Symbian. If Gartner is correct, Android will command 17.7% of the market by the end of the year, a dramatic boost from the 3.9% tally of the previous December. By 2014, Gartner expects Nokia and Android to each control 30% of the mobile market, with Apple’s iOS in third with 15%, and RIM’s Blackberry at 12%.

Research firm IDC is slightly less bullish on Android’s prospects, predicting it will hold 25% of the market by 2014, vs. 33% for Nokia. Both analysts cite Android’s deals with vendors of cheap smartphones as key to their increasing share of the mobile pie, but maintaining amicable relationships with all these different vendors may prove problematic in the long run. Another unknown quantity rests with the outcome of Oracle’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Android, and whether or not Steve Jobs decides to ‘iNuke’ Google’s head offices before the year is out.