OS contest to end in stalemate

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Analyst IDC suggests no single operating system will dominate the smartphone market by 2014 as market levels off

The worldwide smartphone market will grow at a faster pace than previously predicted, yet no one operating system will dominate according to analyst IDC.

IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report predicts smartphone shipments will grow 55.4 per cent and top 269 million in 2010, compared to the 173.5 million shipped in 2009. This is a 10 per cent increase on IDC’s last prediction for shipments in 2010.

IDC said the increase was due to higher-than-expected demand due to new devices coming to market such as the BlackBerry Torch and iPhone 4.

The smartphone market will then grow at a slower rate over the years to 2014, with IDC predicting 24.5 per cent growth next year and 13.6 per cent growth in 2014.

In terms of operating systems, IDC’s report suggests the market will start to level off from 2010 to 2014 with no one system dominating

Android market share will grow from 16.3 per cent in 2010 to 24.6 per cent by 2014, while Windows Mobile will grow its share from 6.8 per cent to 9.8 per cent.

Over the same period, Symbian’s share will fall from 40.1 per cent to 32.9 per cent, BlackBerry’s share will fall from 17.9 per cent to 17.3 per cent and Apple’s iOS stake will fall from 14.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent by 2014.

IDC senior research analyst for mobile devices technology and trends Ramon Llamas said: “Long-time operating systems leaders BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile are about to or have already launched refreshed operating systems to compete with recent newcomers Android and iOS.

“The latter operating systems have taken away both mind share and market share from the old regime, and have helped propel the market forward.”

Llamas described Android as the “wild card” in the operating system marketplace, and said: “Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be.

“Now that HTC and Motorola have leapt out in front with their own respective devices, other vendors such as Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics and Samsung will soon help grow the Android market.”

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