Part of an analyst's job is to predict stuff, and of course a mobile phone news site is there to report news. So by and large, when the first lot do what they're supposed to, the latter bunch kick into gear and write about it.
But while it's certainly interesting that Gartner predicts that Windows Phone will topple iOS for second place in the mobile OS market by 2015, there's really very little point in believing it.
That's not to say it won't happen, but really – in the space of four years there are far too many variables that can and probably will exert an influence on the mobile ecosystem to accurately predict just about anything.
Think that's overly harsh? Well, let's use Gartner itself as an example. Two years ago the esteemed analyst firm (and that's not damning with faint praise – Gartner genuinely is one of the better examples of its kind out there) predicted that by the end of this year we'd have a three-way tie between Android, iOS and BlackBerry OS for mobile operating system market share.
Er, not quite. The world has gone Android-mental, and now Gartner has been forced to shift that prediction to have Google's platform holding a dominant 49% of the smartphone market. That's quite an adjustment, and let's not forget that's over just two years, not the four years into the future that the WinPho prediction is looking.
The truth is, Gartner doesn't actually know what will happen, and neither does anyone else. Why should we, after all? Google might be quite happy with how things are going, and Apple too probably, but as for everyone else, they're going to be spending massive amounts of money, time and intellectual resources over the next four years on upsetting precisely that status quo on which Gartner's predictions are based. And how can anyone be even remotely certain at this stage how successful their efforts will be?
One short-term statement that is worth listening to is Ovum's recent remark that – when it comes to tablets, at least – the current market is ripe for disruption, and the likes of Amazon or Sony could knock the market seriously off its current axis if they play their cards right. Does Gartner's prediction build any of that in, or how existing players will respond to such a shift? Not that we can see.
So how about this – why not make some predictions ourselves? Why don't you let us know what you think will be going on in the mobile market in 2015? Then we can come back in four years' time and look back at who came closest.
Personally I reckon Android will have fragmented into a few sub-platforms, RIM will have abandoned BlackBerry OS altogether and iOS will have evolved into a single platform covering all of Apple's electronics devices. Having said that, I'm pretty sure my predictions will be wide of the mark to some extent, but I'm just as sure Gartner's will be too.