Android will become the leading smartphone platform for at least the next four years, according to the latest data from IDC.
The analyst firm estimates that Android will account for 45 per cent of the global smartphone market by 2015, up from under 40 per cent today.
RIM and iOS will see more modest growth and a slight fall in overall market share to around 15 per cent.
"Android is poised to take over as the leading smartphone operating system in 2011 after racing into the number two position in 2010," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's mobile devices technology and trends team.
"For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party. This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users."
Controversially, Llamas predicted that Windows Phone 7 and its successors will rise to become the second most common smartphone operating system, accounting for more than one in five handsets by 2015.
As Symbian use dwindles, Windows Phone 7 will pick up market share after the first handsets launch in 2012, the report predicts.
Overall 2011 will be a good year for smartphone sales, seeing growth of 49.2 per cent, IDC said. Overall units shipped will rise from 303.4 million in 2010 to 450 million in 2012, and the regular handset market will grow at a quarter of its pace.
"Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
"Last year's high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases. The expected market growth for 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from 2010."
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