We reported a few days ago on IDC’s claims that Windows Mobile OS market share would one day overtake iOS. Now Gartner, a world leader in information technology research, is making similar predictions. But they’ve got Google’s Android OS on top by a long shot.

The numbers are quite staggering. The firm predicts that in 2011, smartphone sales will reach 468 million units worldwide. That would be about a 50% increase from the 300 million units that analysts believe shipped last year. Why is Gartner predicting Apple’s smartphone will only snag 19% of that market?

Android is expected to hog 50% of the smartphone market next year. Smartphone sales are predicted to exceed 600 million units. Google’s OS is considered such a powerhouse because it has been so widely adopted by major mobile phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung. These companies ship worldwide to thousands of carriers.

iPhones on the other hand are more exclusive. They only just recently opened up to a second wireless carrier in the large U.S. market. The iPhone is also only currently offered in 2 models, 16GB and 32GB (not counting 3GS). Analysts are predicting that unless Apple has something up its sleeve for the prepaid market, iPhone sales will eventually start to taper off.

It’s certainly rumored that Apple is looking to give analysts a run for their money. Speculation that Apple has an iPhone nano in the works, as well as multiple iPhone 5 designs, suggests that the Cupertino company isn’t happy with their current standings in the smartphone market.

But maybe Apple isn’t after market share. What if they like where their profit margins are at and how much revenue the company is turning? I just can’t see Steve Jobs and company going after market share with inferior designs. But I also haven’t forgotten Tim Cook’s remarks about “clever things” Apple has in store for prepaid customers.

Do you think Apple will go after Android with multiple iPhone models?

[AppleInsider]