Android, Windows Phone Will Lead Smartphone Market Surge: IDC

Google Android and Windows Mobile will see their smartphone market share increase by 2014, while BlackBerry and Apple will experience declines, according to a new research note from IDC.

Google Android and Windows Phone will see their market share increase over the next few years, according to a new research note from IDC, while other smartphone platforms such as Apple's iOS and BlackBerry OS face declines.

Meanwhile, the research firm added, the overall market for smartphones is due to increase 24.5 percent in 2011, with rapid growth only leveling off by 2014. Some 119.4 million smartphones shipped during the first half of 2010, an increase of 55.5 percent over the same period in 2009.

"The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year," Kevin Restivo, an IDC analyst, wrote in a Sept. 7 statement. "Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations."

IDC expects Android's smartphone market share to increase from 16.3 percent to 24.6 percent between 2010 and 2014. The research note also suggests that "Windows Mobile," which presumably groups the legacy Windows Mobile with the upcoming Windows Phone 7, will grow from 6.8 percent to 9.8 percent of the market during that period.

Apple's iOS will fall from its 14.7 percent market share in 2010 to 10.9 percent in 2014, according to the research note, while BlackBerry OS experiences a slight dip from 17.9 percent to 17.3 percent. Symbian will maintain its position as the number-one smartphone platform worldwide in 2014, although its market share will dip from 40.1 percent to 32.9 percent. "Other" platforms will gain slightly, from 4.2 percent in 2010 to 4.5 percent by 2014.

"Android is the wild card, deserving close observation for the rest of this year and the years to come," Ramon Llamas, another IDC analyst, wrote in the same Sept. 7 statement. "Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be. In addition, users have quickly warmed to Android, comparing it to iOS due to its ease of use and a growing mobile application storefront."

Llamas predicted that Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics and Samsung will be the key manufacturers in expanding the Android market in coming quarters.

While manufacturers continue to install Google Android on an increasing number of devices-including tablets-other smartphone platform-makers have been retooling their strategy to maintain and grow their market share. Research In Motion recently released BlackBerry 6, its new operating system meant to appeal equally to both consumers and business users. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, with a retooled user interface from Windows Mobile, reached its release-to-manufacturing milestone on Sept. 1. And Apple plans two iOS 4 updates with new features, such as a multiplayer-centric Game Center, designed to increase the appeal of its mobile products.