Mobile

IDC: Windows Phone to snatch second place in booming smartphone market

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Has Android reached its peak? New information from research firm IDC indicates Google’s mobile market share growth will start to slow this year.

Instead, the new rising star of the mobile operating system world will be Windows Phone, which IDC says will command 19.2 percent of the smartphone market by 2016. With the ascent, Windows Phone will jump past the BlackBerry OS, and iOS for second place behind Android in the smartphone market.

Android’s market share is set to drop from its current 61 percent market share to 52 percent in the shift, though its position in first place will remain stable on sales of devices from companies such as Samsung.

The reasons for this shift lie in basic market-share math. As the smartphone market grows (it’s projected to jump 38.8 percent in 2012) it’s almost inevitable that smaller platforms like Windows 7 will see significant parts of that growth, IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas told VentureBeat.

“Even though the smartphone pie is getting bigger each year, the shares of the pie for competing platforms are going to shrink,” said Llamas.

So where does that leave iOS? Apple’s mobile OS is projected to command 19 percent of the market by 2016, a slight decrease from where it stands this year. That’s right — According to IDC, iOS’s marketshare is going to shrink by a full percent. It makes sense once you consider that Apple has yet to find a way to tackle high-growth, emerging markets.

“Until we see a shift in Apple’s subsidization policy, pricing, and availability, the iPhone will continue to be cost prohibitive for most people in emerging markets,” Llamas said.

Though we’ve speculated that the iPhone 3GS will be the key to Apple’s efforts in emerging markets, those plans, if they exist, are still in their infancy. While carriers like Cricket and Virgin Mobile have been offering pre-paid versions of the iPhone 4S, there’s still yet to be a large-scale effort from Apple to target more price conscious consumers. And if IDC is correct, that’s bound to hurt Apple in the end.

But the real loser in IDC’s projections is the feature phone market, whose share IDC says will drop ten percent this year. For that you can blame the smartphone market, to which consumers are flocking to as it becomes blissfully easy and increasingly cheap to buy smartphones.

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