A MARKET ANALYST STUDY has projected that Android will lead the smartphone market until at least 2016.
According to a study by IDC Research, Android will have 63.8 per cent market share in four years. That number will represent a decrease from 2012. IDC expects the growth of the Windows Phone market to cut into Android by 2016.
"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is a constantly shifting mobile operating system landscape," said Ramon Llamas, a research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone group.
"Android is expected to stay in front, but we also expect it to be the biggest target for competing operating systems to grab market share. At the same time, Windows Phone stands to gain the most market share as its smartphone and carrier partners have gained valuable experience in selling the differentiated experience Windows Phone has to offer.
IDC says that Windows Phones will jump from their current market share of 2.6 per cent to a more than 11 per cent share by 2016. The research firm is banking on smartphone manufacturers' decisions to offer Windows Phone handsets as a reason behind the projected growth.
The firm is also curious to see what RIM does in years to come. IDC is projecting that upcoming Blackberry smartphones will stay consistent over the next four years with a market share over four per cent. According to the study, that consistency is mostly due to consumers loyal to the brand.
If the IDC's projection turns out to be true it could spell out bad news for RIM. The Blackberry maker is betting that its latest Blackberry 10 device will catch on with consumers. RIM has suffered from lean financial times over the last few years.
Linux smartphones, that are not named Android, will also look to make a push in the smartphone market over the next four years. However, IDC doesn't see them gaining much traction. IDC's research finds that Linux based phones will have only a 1.5 percent market share by 2016.
Iphones are expected to stay at the number two spot for the next four years. IDC says that if Apple wants to outpace Android in global smartphone sales it will need to consider offering cheaper Iphone models in emerging markets.
Offering cheaper Iphone models might be something Apple has already started to consider. Rumors of a low-cost Iphone 4 cropped up last year. Apple also mentioned in an earnings statement last month that the company would consider lowering its profit margins. µ