IDC projects Android will remain the most shipped smartphone operating system over the course of the five-year forecast though its share will peak this year. Increasingly, its share and growth will be driven by Samsung sales.
iOS will continue its impressive run thanks to strong iPhone 4S momentum in North America, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific, specifically China, this year. Growth will moderate over the five-year forecast given the large installed base Apple has accumulated, which means more of its addressable market will be on replacement cycles.Although a small market share decline is expected, IDC expects significant overall shipment volume growth to continue through 2016.
Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will gain share despite a slow start. Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will be aided by Nokia's strength in key emerging markets. IDC expects it to be the number 2 OS with more than 19% share in 2016, assuming Nokia's foothold in emerging markets is maintained.
There will continue to be a market for BlackBerry OS-powered devices, despite Research In Motion's current woes. This is true in emerging markets, for example, where users are looking for affordable messaging devices.
The death knell of Symbian as a widely-used smartphone OS was sounded last year when Nokia said all of its smartphones would eventually be powered by Windows Phone OS. This announcement precipitated an Osborne-like effect that resulted in a sharp decline in Symbian's market share.
IDC expects Symbian-powered smartphone shipments to all but cease by 2014. Clearly, Nokia and Microsoft need to quickly switch Symbian OS user allegiances to Windows Phone 7 in order to maintain relevancy in the smartphone race.