News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Study: Android to lead smartphone growth

Mar 27, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Infonetics Research released a study that projects that the smartphone market will continue to grow despite an eight percent drop in mobile-phone sales this year. The report also predicts that “open-source platforms like Android” are leading the way in shaping the smartphone market.

Summarizing the first edition of Infonetics' biannual “Mobile/WiFi Phones and Subscribers” study, the report supports the findings of a number of other recent studies, from ABI Research, Gartner, IDC, and others that show smartphones to be outpacing the larger mobile market. The eight percent drop in handset sales projected for 2009 is identical to that projected recently by ABI Research, and only slightly lower than IDC's 8.3 percent number. The studies agree that the global recession is the key culprit in the decline.

Smartphones, however, appear to be resistant to the trend, says Infonetics, which projects “modest growth” for the segment this year, followed by more robust growth in the years to come. According to the Infonetics chart below, smartphones will start outselling feature phones by 2013. IDC pegged the smartphone market as growing 3.4 percent this year.

Smartphone vs. feature phone comparison through 2013 (Source: Infonetics Research)

According to Infonetics, handset manufacturer revenue growth for 2009 will stay relatively flat at $156 billion, as handset sales fall to to 1.1 billion worldwide, down from 1.2 billion in 2008. The smartphone segment, however, was said to be the only one to show unit and revenue growth in the recession-plagued second half of 2008, and will be the only handset segment to maintain annual revenue growth over the next five years. In fact, Infonetics projects that the smartphone market will post double-digit annual revenue growth from 2011 through 2013.

Personalization key to Android's appeal

While Infonetics did not break down sales by operating system (OS), the company noted that the Nokia-sponsored Symbian retains market leadership in smartphone OSes, followed by RIM's BlackBerry, which was said to have regained its number two ranking after being temporarily overtaken by the Apple iPhone in the third quarter of 2008.

(Click for details)

Looking forward, however, Infonetics points to open source technology, and particularly the Linux-based Android platform, as leading the way in smartphone growth. Several recent studies have picked Android phones, including the HTC G1 (pictured at right) and the soon to be released HTC Magic (pictured at top), as likely to show strong growth in the coming years. (See “Related Stories” at the end of the story for links to stories on other recent smartphone research reports.)

“Smartphones are evolving quickly, and differentiation is becoming increasingly based on software and OS rather than form factor,” stated Richard Webb, Directing Analyst for WiMAX, Microwave, and Mobile Devices, at Infonetics Research. “Personalization will be king. For instance, the Android platform may be a work in progress, but the first handset to use it, the G1, is attracting high levels of interest, and future models are likely be optimized for key web applications like social networking. Open source platforms like Android are gaining traction and shaping the new competitive landscape.”

Nokia stays on top while LG moves up

Looking at worldwide revenue market share for the handset market in general, Nokia was saying to have maintained its lead in 2008, with Samsung “strengthening its solid second position”, increasing its lead over third-place Sony-Ericsson. LG was said to have overtaken Motorola to claim the fourth spot.

Smartphones have succeeded in part due to accelerating HSPA 3G deployments in North America, Western Europe, “and developed regions in Asia Pacific,” says Infonetics. Meanwhile, among mainstream 2G technologies, W-CDMA gained “a couple of percentage points in 2008 at the expense of CDMA2000, and GSM remained proportionately flat,” reports the research firm.


The first edition of “Mobile/WiFi Phones and Subscribers” is available now, detailing worldwide and regional market size, market share, analysis, and forecasts through 2013, says Infonetics Research. Smartphone OSes tracked include Apple, BlackBerry, Linux, Palm, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. More information may be found here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.