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Android to hold smartphone crown for next four years

05 Dec 2012
Google Android

A new analyst study has projected that Android will rule the smartphone market until at least 2016.

According to a new IDC study, Android will have a 63.8 percent marketshare in four years. That number would represent a decrease from 2012, because IDC expects Windows Phone to cut into Android's share by 2016.

"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is a constantly shifting mobile operating system landscape," said research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team Ramon Llamas.

"Android is expected to stay in front, but we also expect it to be the biggest target for competing operating systems to grab market share. At the same time, Windows Phone stands to gain the most market share as its smartphone and carrier partners have gained valuable experience in selling the differentiated experience Windows Phone has to offer.

IDC predicted Windows Phones will jump from its current marketshare of 2.6 percent to an 11 percent stake by 2016. The analyst firm said smartphone manufactures' decision to offer Windows Phone handsets would help fuel uptake.

The firm is also curious to see what RIM does in years to come. IDC is projecting that upcoming BlackBerry offerings will stay consistent over the next four years with a marketshare over four percent. According to the study, that consistency is mostly due to consumers' loyalty to the brand.

If the IDC's projection turns out to be true it could spell out bad news for RIM. The BlackBerry maker is betting that its latest BlackBerry 10 device will catch on with consumers. RIM has suffered from lean financial times over the last few years.

Linux smartphones, that are not named Android, will also look to make a push in the smartphone market over the next four years. However, the IDC doesn't see the platform gaining much traction. IDC's research finds that Linux-based phones will only have a 1.5 percent marketshare by 2016.

Apple's iPhones are expected to stay at the number two spot for the next four years. IDC says that if Apple wants to outpace Android in global smartphone sales it will need to consider offering cheaper iPhone models in emerging markets.

Offering cheaper iPhone models may be something Apple has already started to consider. Rumours of a low-cost iPhone 4 cropped up last year. Apple also mentioned in an earnings statement last month that the company would consider lowering its profit margins.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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