Asia Pacific will become the largest market for smartphones within two years, accounting for 36% of global shipments in 2012, research firm Canalys predicts.
Shipments in the region will grow 53% to 76.7 million units in 2010 and break the 100 million unit in 2011, on their way to taking a 20% share of all devices shipped in the territory in 2012, the firm forecasts.
Symbian will top the list of shipments by operating system in 2012, but increased shipments of devices running Android and Apple OSes will eat into Symbian’s overall market share.
The decline is already evident, Canalys states, as Symbian smartphones from Nokia, Sharp, Fujitsu and others are tipped to account for just 63% of the Asia Pacific market in 2010, compared to 75% in 2009.
Android could become Symbian’s greatest challenger in the region, as more carriers adopt China Mobile’s approach of using the OS as the basis for their own, operator-branded, platforms, senior analyst T Y Lau says.
However, China Mobile’s Open Mobile System is more likely to be used by domestic vendors including Dopod, Haier, Hisense, Huawei, Lenovo, Yulong and ZTE, because they already supply TD-SCDMA devices to the carrier, and so are more amenable to adopting its platform than international vendors, Lau says.