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ABI projects rosy Android future — with Bada a surprise contender

Apr 1, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Android will represent 45 percent of global smartphone market share by 2016, while Samsung's Bada OS may reach 10 percent, says ABI Research. Contrary to a recent IDC study, which estimated that Windows Phone 7 will be the number two platform in 2015, ABI says Microsoft will achieve only seven percent market share by 2016.

Google's Android operating system will rise to command 45 percent of smartphone market share worldwide by 2016, ABI Research said March 31.

The market researcher, which said Android accounted for 69 million of the 302 million smartphones shipped in 2010, said the phasing out of Nokia's Symbian OS over the next two years would leave a share vacuum.

Meanwhile Apple's iOS should command 19 percent market share in 2016, with Research in Motion's Blackberry falling from 16 percent share in 2010 to 14 percent for 2016. This is owed less to falling Blackberry shipments and more to its relegation to niche status as an enterprise smartphone platform.

Interestingly, ABI also sees Samsung's Bada platform as more primed to take some of the Symbian share than Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, which has struggled in the early going with slow sales and misfiring updates, according to eWEEK's Microsoft Watch blog.

ABI analyst Michael Morgan noted that with 4 million units shipped in 2010, Bada has taken off "very well, very fast," and may reach 10 percent market share by 2016. Bada, which is said to be OS-agnostic, but is generally paired with Linux or another real-time operating system such as BSD. Early Bada phones include the Samsung Wave 2 Pro (pictured).

Conversely, Morgan said Windows Phone 7, which shipped two million handsets in last year's fourth quarter, would have to "find incredible success through its Nokia channel to take more than seven percent of the market by 2016."

That's quite a different story from IDC's market forecast from March 29. Similar to ABI, IDC pegged Android at 45 percent share through 2015.

However, IDC said that Windows Phone 7 — not Blackberry, iOS or Bada — would take 21 percent market share to fill the void left by Symbian.

That's how strongly IDC believes in the Microsoft brand and the ensuing partnership to have Nokia build phones with WP7. Bada, by the way, did not make the IDC listings, although it is likely folded into the 4.6 percent of "others" projected for 2015.

Overall, ABI said the smartphone market would see a huge upswing as lower-cost models land to help cost-conscious consumers replace their feature phones. ABI expects the market to grow at a 19 percent compound annual rate through 2016.

Further information

More information on ABI Research's smartphone market data can be found on the company's website. An interesting commentary by Harry McCracken regarding the futility of long-term phone market share forecasts may be found on the Technologizer website.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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