Research firm sees a boost for Android and Windows Phone at the expense of Symbian and iOS

Research firm sees a boost for Android and Windows Phone at the expense of Symbian and iOS
IDC has run its numbers prediction game again, and this time it speculates on the market share of the various mobile operating systems in the next few years. By 2014, it predicts, the "wild card" Android will have reached nearly 25% of all smartphones worldwide - not hard to believe considering the low-tier push that Google is plotting.

IDC also states that the market for Windows Phone devices (presumably both Windows Mobile legacy, if it is still lurking around, and WP7) will expand from 6.8% to 9.8% - again plausible, since Windows Phone 7 hasn't even hit the market yet. Here we will go out on a limb and say that WP7 will probably surpass the 10% mark, considering the resources Microsoft is pouring into its development, marketing and distribution.

BlackBerry OS is expected to remain almost unchanged from its 17.9% market share, and the biggest loser is supposed to be Symbian, falling from 40.1%, to 32.9%. The other dip, according to IDC, will be in Apple's iOS market share, which could shrink from 14.7% to 10.9%. The "other" platforms will modestly increase their market share to a combined value of 4.5%.

We wouldn't even dare to speculate what the mobile OS market will look like next year, let alone in 2014, but that's what the IDC analyst get paychecks for. Considering the explosive expansion of the smartphone industry expected in the near future, where will the puzzle pieces fall is anyone's guess.

Apple's exclusivity with AT&T will be over in that timeframe, so we will be seeing the iPhone on more carriers, which will certainly boost the iOS numbers. Symbian might be declining in its current reincarnation, but Symbain^4 and MeeGo are nearing to replace it in Nokia handsets, and who knows what consumers will find attractive. Samsung is planning to put bada on a third of its smartphones, and it is the number two cell phone manufacturer, so they might stir the market as well. We are also not so sure of BlackBerry remaining unscathed with all the troubles looming over its proprietary email system.

For all we know the smartphone OS market will become increasingly fragmented, but in the end it will be Apple and Google raking in the cash - Apple from the huge margins on its tightly integrated products, and Google from the search revenue generated by Android's proliferation.

source: eWeek

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