Windows, Android to Power Smartphone Surge, IDC Says

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

Google's Android operating system and Windows Mobile will power a surge in global smartphone sales, according to a report from IT research firm IDC.

The worldwide market for smartphones is expected to grow 55.4 percent this year compared with 2009 amid greater-than-expected demand for the do-it-all devices, according to IT research firm IDC. This is 10 percent higher than the previous forecast from the company's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC said it now expects mobile phone vendors to ship 269.6 million converged mobile devices this year, compared with the 173.5 million units shipped in 2009. The increased market forecast for smartphones comes amid the launch of several new models, such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch, EVO 4G and Apple's iPhone 4 in recent months.

For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 119.4 million units, or 55.5 percent more than the 76.8 million units shipped during the first half of 2009.

IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas said as the worldwide smartphone market continues to grow at a strong rate, the market dynamics among mobile operating systems continue to shift. "Longtime operating systems leaders BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile are about to or have already launched refreshed operating systems to compete with recent newcomers Android and iOS," he said. "The latter operating systems have taken away both mindshare and market share from the old regime, and have helped propel the market forward."

The company projected Symbian will maintain its No. 1 standing throughout the forecast period, with 32.9 percent share in 2014. However, the report predicted it will lose share, primarily to Google's Android operating system, which is expected to grow its share fastest over the forecast period, rising from 16.3 percent to 24.6 percent. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile is expected to regain some of the share it had lost over the past two years, and BlackBerry's share will remain relatively constant while that of iOS will decline gradually, the report concluded.

"Android is the wild card, deserving close observation for the rest of this year and the years to come," said Llamas, who is part of IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be. In addition, users have quickly warmed to Android, comparing it to iOS due to its ease of use and a growing mobile application storefront. Now that HTC and Motorola have leapt out in front with their own respective devices, other vendors such as Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics and Samsung will soon help grow the Android market."