Global shipments of smartphones will reach 653 million by 2016, double the amount sold in 2010, according to a new forecast by the market research firm Ovum. The company believes that Google's Android platform will be the driving force behind this upsurge that will see the smartphone device category experiencing a CAGR of 14.5 per cent between 2010 and 2016.
During this period the Google OS will outstrip Apple's iOS by taking a 38 per cent share of the smartphone market, compared to Apple's 17.5 per cent, according to Ovum.
"The smartphone market will see significant growth over the next five years, once again outperforming the wider mobile phone market," said Ovum analyst Adam Leach in a press statement. "The success of the Android platform is being driven by the sheer number of hardware vendors supporting it at both the high and low ends of the market."
According to Ovum's latest forecast, the 17.5 per cent market share held by Apple's iOS in 2016 will be just ahead of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 with 17.2 per cent, which in turn will be closely followed by the BlackBerry OS with 16.5 per cent.
Hedging his bets, Leach added: "We expect at least one other platform to achieve mainstream success within the forecast period. This could be an existing player in the market such as Bada, WebOS or MeeGo, or it could be a new entrant to the market place."
Of note, the analyst maintained that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership had the potential to revamp the smartphone market that will see a significant decline in the number of Symbian-based handsets being shipped worldwide as Nokia switches over to Windows Phone as its chosen smartphone OS.
However, the Ovum study highlights the potential issue for Microsoft that other handset vendors currently supporting Windows Phone may drift away to alternative OS suppliers if the competition from Nokia becomes too fierce.
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