Skip to main content

Android to lead smartphones, Windows to outgrow iOS by 2016

Google's Android will likely maintain its smartphone OS dominance in the next five years, though its share will peak in 2012, according to data from IDC released 6 June.

Apple's iOS, meanwhile, will continue an "impressive" run during the same time period, but could face increasing competition from Windows Phone - if Nokia manages to maintain its lead in emerging markets.

According to IDC, Android is expected to capture 61 per cent of the smartphone market in 2012. Though that will likely drop to just over half by 2016, it will still be enough to maintain the number one spot. Sales of Samsung devices will be a big driver, IDC said.

Apple iOS will likely capture just over a fifth of the market this year and fall one percentage point by 2016, while Windows Phone will jump from 5.2 per cent in 2012 to just under 20 per cent in the next few years, IDC said - something it predicted last year, too.

IDC said uptake of iOS will slow in the coming years "given the large installed base Apple has accumulated". As a result, most buyers in the years to come will be existing iPhone users who upgrade to the newest device. Emerging markets will be "of utmost importance" if Apple wants iOS to gain any share, IDC said. Nokia already has a foothold in emerging markets, which should help with the expansion of Windows Phone, according to IDC.

Despite its recent troubles, IDC maintained that there will "continue to be a market" for BlackBerry devices. RIM also has an opportunity in emerging markets, but IDC predicted an increasing "gulf" between BlackBerry and other top operating systems as the "software/app-oriented and the 'bring your own device' enterprise trend proliferates".

IDC said BlackBerry OS will probably have 6 per cent of the market this year, and slip slightly to 5.9 per cent by 2016.

Overall, the cell phone market is expected to grow just 4 per cent in 2012 thanks to a projected 10 per cent drop in the number of feature phones sold, but smartphone sales are expected to help even out that loss, with a 38 percent boost in shipments this year.