In the past week or so, we've seen a couple of reports showing how much the smartphone has infiltrated the U.S. and just how tight the race for top mobile OS is. Today we've got another report for you to look over, but rather than tell us what the market is like now, it's predicting some big changes for the next year. Right now around 30 percent of the U.S. population uses a smartphone, up from 18 percent a year ago; Horace Dediu, analyst with the firm Asymco, predicts that that number will jump to 50 percent by the end of 2011. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones, he says that unlimited data plans will eventually become the biggest money maker for carriers. Those aren't the craziest things we've ever heard considering how quickly smartphones are being adopted, but Dediu's other prediction is a little more bold: by the end of 2011, 1 in 3 phones will run either Android or iOS.
As you can see in the chart above, iOS and Android have definitely been making progress, but the idea that one in three devices will be powered by one of two operating systems is pretty wild. Still, we've seen Android grow at a pretty steady rate over the past year and, at the rate that new handsets are being churned out, it's feasible that Google's green robot could capture that much of the market. When it comes to iOS, well, it's expected that Apple will finally be launching the iPhone on a carrier besides AT&T next year; considering that that carrier just so happens to be the largest in the U.S., I'd say that iOS has a decent shot at reaching Dediu's projected numbers, too. The good news is that RIM, Microsoft, and webOS will all soldier on through 2011, according to Dediu, so competition won't completely disappear. What do you all make of Dediu's predictions? Will Apple and Google rule the mobile roost, or will one of the other mobile OSes step up their game to challenge Android and iOS?