But this will only represent 9 per cent of the 1.37bn expected shipments and is relatively few compared to the 23 per cent share for Apple, with Android cornering 58 per cent. Apple will sell the same amount of smartphones by the end of this year as Microsoft will in five years’ time, said the Smartphone markets: worldwide trends, forecasts and strategies 2012–2017.
Android should achieve its peak 58 per cent share of shipments by the end of 2013 but will see little growth after that, with few new audiences left to target. The market is predicted to be volatile, with RIM a noted casualty of the last 12 months. Handset makers with their own content, multi-device ecosystems or those popular in emerging markets, including Huawei and ZTE, are expected to increase market share.
Smartphones shipments globally will increase from a 41.2 per cent share of total handset shipments, 700m, to a 70 per cent share. But the number of new smartphone connections has already started to decline, from 39 per cent in 2011 to 29 per cent in 2012, while upgrades increase to drive three out of every four smartphone purchases. By 2017, there will be 3.4bn smartphone connections.
“Having a third significant OS player like Windows in the smartphone market would benefit mobile operators because it would reduce Apple’s and Google’s control over the market,” said Ronan de Renesse, author of the report and Principal Analyst at Analysys. “It would also encourage subscribers to move from one OS to another, as well as improve operators’ negotiating position in smartphone retail.”