Android Will Be No. 2 Smartphone OS by 2013, Says Study

Worldwide shipments of smartphones will surpass 390 million units by 2013, predicts IDC, with the two most popular mobile operating systems being Symbian and the Android platform.

Market research company IDC projects that by 2013, worldwide shipments of smartphones will surpass 390 million units, with the Android platform moving into the No. 2 spot behind the Symbian OS.

According to a recent IDC study, the smartphone market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 20.9 percent between 2009 and 2013. In addition, IDC said newcomers to the field such as Android and the Palm WebOS platform are giving more established platforms such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry a serious run for their money, having "garnered strong end-user and handset vendor interest," IDC said in a Jan. 25 news release announcing the study results.

IDC projected that "Symbian will retain its leadership position ... Due primarily to the strength of Nokia in markets outside of the United States, Symbian continues to lead all other mobile operating systems."

"Mobile operating systems have become the key ingredient in the highly competitive mobile device market," said Stephen Drake, vice president of mobility and telecom research at IDC. "Although the overall look and feel of the device will still play an important role in the buying process, the wrong choice of operating system coupled with an awkward user interface can mean the difference between success and failure."

Other key findings from the IDC study, "Worldwide Mobile OS 2009-2013 Forecast and Analysis," include:

""- Android will experience the fastest growth of any mobile operating system. Starting from a very small base of just 690,000 units in 2008, total Android-powered shipments will reach 68.0 million units by 2013, making for a CAGR of 150.4%. Android will benefit from having a growing footprint of handset vendors supporting it and will finish second to Symbian in shipments by 2013.- Linux and webOS shipments will struggle throughout the forecast period. Shipments of Linux-powered devices will trend down due to greater emphasis on the Android platform but will not disappear entirely as some vendors will continue to support it. Palm's webOS, despite growing steadily, will capture limited market share due to limited deployment and availability of devices across multiple carriers.""