IDC: Windows Mobile To Gain In Rising Smartphone Market - Twice

IDC: Windows Mobile To Gain In Rising Smartphone Market

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Framingham, Mass. - Worldwide growth in smartphone shipments is outpacing cellphone shipment growth and will jump 55 percent in 2011 and almost double in 2015 from 2011 levels, market research company IDC forecasts.

During the period, the Android OS will maintain its No. 1 market share in smartphone shipments and will increase its share, while the Windows Mobile platform rockets from fifth place in 2011 share to second place in 2015 as Nokia gets aggressively behind the OS, IDC said. (See table.)

Apple's iOS platform and RIM's BlackBerry platform will lose a small amount of share during the 2011 through 2015 period but will each nonetheless post double-digit compound annual growth gains, IDC said.

In 2011, vendors will ship 472 million smartphones compared with 2010's approximate 305 million, and the number will almost double in 2015 to 982 million.

Also in 2011, smartphone shipments will grow more than four times the rate of overall cellphone shipments, thanks to falling average selling prices, increased functionality, and lower-cost data plans that, among other factors, make the devices more accessible to a wider range of consumers, said senior research analyst Kevin Restivo.  Smartphone growth is "particularly pronounced" in emerging markets where adoption is still in its infancy, he said.

IDC forecasts that Android, which passed Symbian as the leading operating system worldwide in 2010's fourth quarter, will grow to account for more than 40 percent of smartphone shipments in the second half of 2011. IDC attributed that trend to a growing list of vendors that made Android "the cornerstone of their respective smartphone strategies."

Symbian will steadily lose share through 2015 as Nokia transitions to Windows Phone and will post a 2015 market share of less than 1 percent, IDC noted. Windows Mobile, on the other hand, "will benefit from Nokia's support, scope, and breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence," IDC added. Windows' share will jump to 20.3 percent in 2015, No. 2 behind Android.

Apple's iOS will retain its third-place rank during the forecast period, but its share will drop to 16.9 percent in 2015 from 20111's 18.2 percent. "After an initial explosive growth period, iOS is expected to grow at a more modest pace throughout the latter half of the forecast as the smartphone market matures and diversifies," IDC said.

The BlackBerry OS will maintain its fourth-place share rank over the forecast period but, like Apple, will also experience falling share even as its unit sales grow.

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