Smartphone Market to Grow 55 Percent, Android Leads the Way: Report

By Erin Harrison June 09, 2011

According to an industry study released this week, the global smartphone market is forecast to grow 55 percent year over year in 2011, with the Android to grow more than 40 percent of the market in the second half of the year.

Vendors will ship a total of 472 million smartphones in 2011 compared to roughly 305 million units shipped in 2010 – a figure that is expected to nearly double to 982 million by the end of 2015, according to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The exploding smartphone market is being driven by falling selling prices, increased functionality and lower-cost data plans, which make the devices more accessible to a wider range of users, the researcher said.

Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said the “smartphone floodgates are open wide,” with many emerging markets still in their infancy. 

“Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their 'talk-and-text' devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere,” Restivo said. “The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

IDC expects the ever-popular Android to grow the market by more than 40 percent in the second half of 2011. Android recently surpassed Symbian as the leading operating system worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The rapidly shifting operating system landscape is “underpinning” market growth according to Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team

“End-users are becoming more sophisticated about what kinds of experiences are offered by the different operating systems,” said Llamas. Taking this as their cue, operating system developers will strive for more intuitive and seamless experiences, but will also look to differentiate themselves along key features and characteristics.”

IDC also predicted that Symbian will “steadily lose” marketshare as its biggest supporter Nokia transitions to Microsoft’s Windows Phone software.


Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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