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Android Likely To Lead Smartphone Market This Year

Android Likely To Lead Smartphone Market This Year
By Barry Levine

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As consumers continue to move from feature phones, IDC expects Google's open-source Android will become the world's leading mobile operating system this year. IDC also expects "pent-up demand" to push the smartphone market up 49.2 percent. And with Microsoft's deal with Nokia, IDC predicts Windows Phone 7 will become number two.

Android's rocketing rise as a mobile platform is about to hit the stratosphere. According to a new report from industry research firm IDC, Google's open-source operating system, currently in second place worldwide, will become the leading smartphone operating system this year.

Ramon Llamas, IDC senior research analyst, said, "For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was Android's 'coming-out party,'" while 2011 will be the "coronation party."

The report also projected that the worldwide smartphone market will grow 49.2 percent this year as consumers and enterprise users continue to move from feature phones. This growth rate is more than four times faster than the overall mobile-phone market.

'Pent-Up Demand'

According to IDC, the huge growth is due in part to "pent-up demand" left over from 2009, when buyers put off purchases. But the 2011 growth is actually down from last year's 74 percent, which IDC described as "exceptional." Unit sales are expected to be 450 million smartphones this year, compared to 303.4 million in 2010.

The other big shift in relative positions that IDC predicts is Windows Phone 7's emergence. Llamas said that until Phone 7's launch last year, Microsoft steadily lost market share to other operating systems. But the recent announcement by Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, that it will move from Symbian to Phone 7 was a lifeline to the software giant. Llamas said the alliance marries "Nokia's hardware capabilities with Windows' phone-differentiated platform."

The first Nokia devices with Phone 7 are expected next year, and, by 2015, IDC projects Phone 7 as the second-largest mobile operating system worldwide, behind Android.

45.4 Percent by 2015

In 2011, IDC predicts Android's worldwide market share will be 39.5 percent, growing to nearly half of all phones by 2015 at 45.4 percent. Symbian is currently second, at 20.9 percent, and, having been abandoned, that position will fall to nearly zero in four years. Apple's iOS is currently third at 15.7 percent and is projected to fall 0.4 percent.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS is now fourth at 14.9 percent, and is projected to drop slightly to 13.7 percent. Windows Phone 7 is projected to see the biggest increase, from its current 5.5 percent market share to 20.9 percent in 2015. Other OSes are projected at 3.5 percent in 2011, rising slightly to 4.6 percent by 2015.

Android, released a little more than three years ago, is now available on handsets from a variety of vendors, including LG, Motorola, Samsung, HTC and others. It has also emerged as a key competitive operating system to Apple for tablets.

In January, research firm Nielsen found about 40 percent of those who purchased a smartphone within the last six months chose an Android-based device. At the time of that report, Apple's iOS was the choice of about 27 percent, while the BlackBerry OS was chosen by about 19 percent.

Tell Us What You Think


Manny S:

Posted: 2011-03-29 @ 3:14pm PT
The only reason android will continue to grow is because it is offered on many different devices and all major networks now. Even metro pcs. If apple would hurry up and cater to every major network in the us I'm pretty sure it would dominate even more than it is now. The fact that ios is only on 1 cellular device, and up until recently 1 network, its pretty impressive that it is keeping up with the dozens of android phones that are offered. I have an HTC evo now and I came from the iphone 3g to see what android was all about, I must say there are certain things I miss from the iphone. I have since found many workarounds for these nuisances. I would hope android dominates since it out numbers the iphone in many different aspects. I will finish by saying, the fact that I had to install an iphone keyboard emulator and search for a bearable music player for the android certainly says something about the iphone's ease of use. Well, for me at least.

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