Android To Dominate as Smartphones Become Ubiquitous

A new report from Ovum predicts that global shipments of smartphones will be more than 650 million by 2016 and Android will take a dramatic lead in the OS market-share race, with a 20-percent lead over Apple.

The researcher predicts Android will own 38 percent of the market, with Apple lagging way behind at 17.5 percent in just five years time. Ovum predicts smartphones will have a compound annual growth rate of 14.5 percent between 2010 and 2016 and will account for approximately 40 percent of the mobile phone market. Asia-Pacific will be the largest region, shipping just over 200 million units by 2016. Western Europe and North America will remain strong markets with 175 million and 165 million shipments, respectively, the report says.

The smartphone market will see significant growth over the next five years, once again outperforming the wider mobile phone market. We will see dramatic shifts in dominance for smartphone software platforms, with Android storming into the lead said Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach. The success of the Android platform is being driven by the sheer number of hardware vendors supporting it at both the high and low ends of the market.”

Ovum says Windows Phone 7 will become a significant player, pulling into a close third place, with 17.2 per cent market share by 2016. BlackBerry will drop to fourth, with 16.5 percent, the report predicts.

We expect at least one other platform to achieve mainstream success within the forecast period,” Leach said. This could be an existing player in the market such as Bada, WebOS, or MeeGo, or it could be a new entrant to the market place.”

Leach says the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft has redrawn the smartphone market and will result in a significant reduction in shipments of Symbian-based handsets as Nokia transitions to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. However, Nokia still expects to ship 150 million Symbian-based handsets so there will be shipments beyond 2012 and in some regions into 2016.

For Microsoft the deal provides a committed handset partner that has the potential to make Windows Phone a mainstream smartphone platform,” Leach said. The risk to Microsoft is that other handset makers may choose not to compete with Nokia and may turn their backs on Windows Phone.”

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