nokia windows phone 7 conceptThanks to a partnership with Nokia, Windows Phone 7 will be the number two smartphone operating system worldwide by 2015, predicts market research company IDC.

“Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences”, said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “The new alliance brings together Nokia’s hardware capabilities and Windows Phone’s differentiated platform.

For IDC’s prediction to come true, nearly everyone currently using Nokia’s Symbian smartphones will have to make the switch to Windows smartphones; the first Nokia-Windows phones will be out in 2012.

The competition will be fierce. New Android phones are being released regularly and the iPhone 5 is rumored to come out later this year. Google’s Android operating system will grab a hold of the number 1 spot this year, and its market share will grow to 45.4 percent in 2015 from 39.5 in 2011, according to IDC. Apple’s iPhone’s market share will be 15.7 percent at the end of this year and will stay around 15 percent also in 2015.

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The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011 as more consumers and enterprise users turn in their feature phones for smartphones with more advanced features. Smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units in 2010, IDC predicts. The smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market.

Operating System 2011 Market Share 2015 Market Share
Android 39.5% 45.4%
BlackBerry 14.9% 13.7%
iOS 15.7% 15.3%
Symbian 20.9% 0.2%
Windows Phone 7 5.5% 20.9%
Others 3.5% 4.6%