Three things stand out from Gartner’s latest smartphones forecast:

- They published a four year forecast with seven significant digits of precision (implying a margin of error of 0.00001%).
- There is a linear growth in total market size.
- There are no significant share changes after 2012.

The latter two claims are illustrated below:

Notwithstanding the defensibility of these claims Gartner analysts makes some further assumptions (quoted verbatim).

- “Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy”
- “RIM’s migration from BlackBerry OS to QNX which is expected in 2012”
- “Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012”

These assumptions may be valid, but from where I’m sitting, the first assumption contradicts Apple’s COO, the second would be an engineering marvel and the third would be an organizational miracle.

Putting together all the long term forecasts with what is already known about the market history gives the following combined forecast.

At the risk of repeating myself, the only thing I can summarize from this collective wisdom is that the over-riding assumption in forecasting seems to be that the future is an extrapolation of the present. That would indeed be a miracle.