Market research firm IDC is predicting 49.2% growth in the smart-phone market in 2011. This is said to be due in large part to an increasing number of subscribers simply upgrading to new iPhones and Android phones from more traditional and basic featured models. IDC is backing up this prediction with another study about mobile and iphone apps that seems to go hand-in-hand. This other recent study predicts the number of iphone and other mobile apps downloaded to grow from 10.9 billion in 2010 to 76.9 billion in 2014.
Predicting overall growth in the smartphone market does seem like an iron-clad safe assumption, but IDC is also making predictions about the future market share of smartphone platforms. This is definitely something that seems much more difficult to predict. IDC predicts that over the next 4 years, Android will strengthen its current hold on the smartphone market from 39.5% today to 45.4% in 2015. Also in that time, they are predicting that Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will experience significant growth from 5.5% to 20.9% while iOS and BlackBerry take slight hits coming in at 15.3% (down from 15.7%) and 13.7% (down from 14.9%) respectively. Symbian was recently dropped from Nokia’s future plans, and as such, is predicted to all but drop off the map falling to 0.2%.
The biggest surprise here has to be the prediction that Windows Phone 7 will propel past iPhone into second place by a wide margin. It’s definitely possible, but given factors such as Nokia’s integration of WP7 going slower than planned, such substantial growth for WP7 in comparison to iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices has to be questioned.