With December now in full swing, IDC has released its latest prediction for the global mobile phone market, forecasting that the industry will grow only 1.4% year over year in 2012, while smartphone shipments are expected to grow 45.1% from 2011.
According to the report, vendors will ship more than 1.7 billion mobile phones in 2012, with global smartphone volumes representing 39.5% of the year-over-year growth, thanks to an expected shipment of 717.5 million units. The strong increase can be credited to a variety of factors, cites IDC, including steep device subsidies from carriers, as many smartphones are priced between $50 and $100.
The market-research company also jumped ahead four years, predicting that mobile phone shipments will reach 2.2 billion in 2016. Yet, the most notable forecast comes in the form of smartphone operating systems, as IDC expects Windows Phone to grow from 2.6% market share in 2012 to 11.4% by 2016. As more smartphones equipped with Microsoft's mobile interface begin to enter the market, it will be interesting to see if the operating system can live up to IDC's double-digital expectations.
Google's Android platform will keep its top spot in four years time, according to the report, only dropping 4.5% from its 68.3% market share in 2012. Considering the success Google has seen with a variety of manufacturers running the Android software on their hardware, especially Samsung with this year's flagship Galaxy S III, it's no surprise that the company's operating system will remain number one.
Apple, on the other hand, will stick to its expensive standards, remaining out of reach for many smartphone owners. Yet, this strategy has worked in the past for the company and, evidently, will continue to, as iOS will remain in second place among mobile platforms, growing slightly to 19.1% from 18.8%.
As for the ailing RIM, the 2013 launch of BlackBerry 10 won't be much of a game changer apparently, as IDC predicts the operating system's market presence will remain around 4%, decreasing somewhat from the 4.7% it holds now.
With the new year less than a month away, only time will tell how smartphones sales will fare in 2013.
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