According to ABI Research, the Android operating system enjoys a growing popularity among users of smartphones – the company’s forecasts estimating a 45% market share for this OS by 2016. According to ABI, Android’s success is increasing with the popularity of smartphone devices – in 2010 they recorded sales of 302 million handsets, an increase of over 71% compared to 2009.
Of the smartphones shipped in 2010, about 69 million are running different versions of Android. “Android, Bada and BlackBerry enjoy a great opportunity – the next two years they can fill the void left by the disappearance of the Symbian operating system,” notes Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research.
According to the same research company, iOS Apple – which in 2010 held a 15% market share – will enjoy a moderate, but, in the medium term, a steady ascend supported by the manufacturer’s trend to bring to market new products taking advantage of this OS. ABI Research forecasts indicate a market share of 19% for iOS, by 2016.
The operating system promoted by the Canadian manufacturer RIM, which in 2010 had a 16% market share, could lose ground, according to ABI estimates – which predict a smaller market share by 2016 – only 14%.
“The slight loss of market share for RIM does not mean that the company will reduce its massive sales”, says ABI Research vice president, Kevin Burden. “RIM has found a favorable niche, but the consumer market will grow faster than it”, he added.
Regarding the latest smartphone operating systems, namely Windows 7 and Samsung Bada, they are intended, in general, to low and medium class phones – says ABI, finding Bada platform from Samsung a stronger competitor than Windows Phone 7.
“With four million units shipped in 2010 (1.5% market share), Bada has taken the market very well and very quickly”, said Michael Morgan. “Bada can reach a market share of 10% by 2016. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, which shipped about two million handsets in the last quarter of 2010, will have to find their success by exploiting the channel offered by the alliance with Nokia to get more than 7% of the market by 2016,” the ABI analyst concluded.
“The general increase recorded in 2010 smartphone market is not that surprising, a lot more significant is the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19%, estimated in our forecasts by 2016″, says Kevin Burden.
Similar to ABI Research’s forecast, research company IDC predicts a 45% market share for Android – but much earlier, by 2015. Nevertheless, IDC believes that, without the Symbian operating system on the market, Windows Phone 7 will reach 21% of the market – to the detriment of Blackberry, iOS or Bada; the research analysts at the company are confident that the partnership with Nokia will bring an unexpected success for Microsoft.
According to International Data Corporation, manufacturers of smartphones will deliver in 2011 over 450 million devices – compared to only 303.4 million units shipped in 2010, which represents an increase of 49.2%. This would mean, according to the research firm, that smartphone market will grow four times faster than the overall market for mobile phones.
“In 2011, Android is ready to take the lead in smartphone operating systems, while in 2010 has been competing for the second place in the rankings”, said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst of IDC’s Mobile Device Division.
“For providers that have made Android the cornerstone of their strategy for smartphones, 2010 was the year that they were starting to celebrate. This year we expect them to broaden their product portfolios to attract more and more customers, particularly users who buy their first smartphone.
According to IDC, the recent decision made by Nokia regarding the move from Symbian to Windows Phone 7 will have major repercussions for the market development of smartphones.
“Until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share – while other operating systems have brought new experiences and have proved more attractive. The new alliance brings together the hardware capabilities of Nokia and the Windows Phone differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to be launched in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to reach number two on the market behind Android operating system”, Llamas added.
According to StatCounter, the world’s top mobile operating system is dominated currently by Symbian (30.61% in March 2011), followed by iOS (24.38%), Android (15.8%) and BlackBerry ( 14.1%) – but the company does not provide separate data for smartphone devices.
On the North American continent, Android already is holding the second position (28.4%), after iOS (39.34%), but in front of BlackBerry (19.8%).
In Europe, Android also made ground (17.97%), surpassing the BlackBerry (17.17%) but far behind iOS (44.53%).
The data provided by StatCounter for the United States (iOS – 36.74%; Android – 29.32% and BlackBerry – 23.39%) is contradicting somewhat the research published by the ComScore company, stating that Android is already the most popular operating system with 33% of the market.