It’s pretty well agreed upon that the growing smartphone market will continue to balloon in the years to come. One research firm, Pyramid Research estimates that the number of smartphones sold to end users will total 1.46 billion units in 2011, accounting for 27% of all cell phones sold. The same firm expects that figure to nearly double to 53% in 2015.
Stela Bokun, Senior Analyst and Practice Leader for Mobile Devices for Pyramid Research states:
“Much of the projected total market growth in 2011 will come from the Africa and Middle East (AME) region, which will see a strong demand for low-end smartphone models, ultra low-cost handsets and dual-SIM and full touch-screen feature phones,”… ”The main drivers of the demand in the developed markets will be the launches of a number of flagship high-end devices and new features and technologies. However, inexpensive smartphone models, particularly those from Huawei and ZTE, also will be in high demand in some of the richest Western European, Asian and North American markets.”
I’m sure that all sounds very reasonable to most people, myself included. But the surprise of Pyramid’s latest Smartphone Forecast might leave some scratching their heads… Bokun states that, while smartphone sales will be driven in large part by Android over the next four years, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will overtake Android and other operating systems to become the top-selling smartphone platform in the world in 2015.
I know the latter will sound like a stretch to most people, especially considering the relatively slow start of Windows Phone 7 since Microsoft launched it in 2010. That would be a huge jump from its current 5th place, behind Android, Blackberry, iOS and Symbian, if it were to accomplish this feat.
Meanwhile, International Data Corporation (IDC) has released their own forecast saying that Windows Phone 7 will be second to only Android by 2015. While not quite as big of a jump that would still be quite impressive as they have the OS’s share going from 5.5% by the end of this year to 21% four years from now, an annual growth of 67%.
IDC cites Microsoft’s recent partnership with Nokia, who holds a 33% share of the smartphone market (down from 48% in 2006), as the contributing factor behind this forecasted growth. They say that Nokia dropping its Symbian smartphone OS in favor of Windows Phone 7 will pay off very well for Microsoft.
IDC expects Android to have a 39.5% market share by the end of the year, which would be nearly double that of its nearest competitor, Nokia’s Symbian. But they also believe that t Android’s growth will taper off somewhat over the next four years, culminating in Android holding a 45% share of the market by 2015.
One thing to keep in mind in all of this is that forecasting smartphone (or technology in general) trends is extremely hard to do. Just six months ago, IDC predicted that Android’s share would grow to 25% by 2014 (which it achieved in early 2011), iOS would slip to 11% and Windows Mobile would have 10% of the market in three years. So we must take these forecasts with a grain of salt. Heck, there could even be an entirely new player sitting at the top in four years time!
So what are your thoughts? Do you think that the Windows Phone platform has what it takes to make this kind of stride in the next four years? How do you see the smartphone OS scene shaking out in the not-so-distant future? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Co-owner and PR guy for GizmoNinja.com. I’m happily married and a father to a wonderful (most of the time) son. I work in the E9-1-1 software/data industry by day and am a tech loving geek in my spare time. I’m interested in all things tech, but am big into Android especially. I dabble in a little of everything – Android development, PC development, web development, etc – but am a master of none (not even close)… But I have fun doing it anyway! =P