IDC: Android will peak in 2012, maintain market dominance over next five years


As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. It’s a simple concept demonstrated by the science governing our universe, and not even a skyrocketing Android platform can escape gravity’s drag. Market research firm IDC has published its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, which further solidifies Android as the world’s top smartphone platform, but not without a bit of bubble bursting.

IDC predicts that Android will reach its market peak in 2012 with a 61 percent share of global smartphone users. After this, Google’s platform will decline over the next five years as Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS climbs into the number two spot. The good news is that the predicted drop in Android share is not particularly sharp or drastic. By 2016 IDC says Android will hold 52.9 percent of the market, a number that equals a drop off of lest than 10 percent. The figure can be directly related to Windows Phone’s growth to a 19.2 percent share. Apple’s iOS will also decline from a 20.5 percent share in 2012 to a 19 percent share in 2016, making it the world’s number three smartphone platform by a slim margin.

Of course, any number of unforeseeable events could occur that would dramatically change IDC’s outlook. A popular new platform could emerge, a current heavyweight could get pushed out of the ring. The numbers play out in a world where adoption rates remain fairly stable in relation to the smartphone market as it sits today. Regardless of what happens, it looks like we can count on Android dominating the market for years to come.

[via BGR]

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  1. If Google managed to make their upgrade scheme not suck ass they could hold dominance for the next 10 years easy.

    1. That’s a BIG if. I don’t see anyway to make a clear upgrade path when there are literally thousands of different devices running as many customized builds.

      1. NEXUS. That is how. If they can make the multiple Nexus device strategy work. Users paying $500 for a phone isn’t going to do it, but if they can figure out some way to subsidize them it could work. Maybe Google could contract with providers and sell susidized Nexus phones, Money talks and Google has piles of it. If they really want to figure out a way to give people a consistent experience and easy upgrade path, there are ways to do it.

    2. I agree completely. Android problem is fragmentation and the complete lack of standardized internal hardware. Takes forever to get updates because carriers have to overlay their crap skins instead of making them an installable app, then you have to tweak for 1000 different hardware configurations. Just not a sustainable practice over the long run. MS did it with windows but they did not carriers impeding the process.

  2. You had me until they said Microsoft would climb into the second place slot.

    1. Yeah… that’s wishful thinking.

    2. Android number one, wp number two, and ios three? That’s not terribly difficult to imagine.

      1. Except when you look at the world market share and see MS constantly getting smaller. First it was “wait til WP8 hits,” followed by “wait til the Nokia phones hit.” It’s still downward no matter what happens. Metro isn’t cutting it, they need a new approach to things. Sad, because the OS is actually fast, just lacks a UI that people want.

        iOS isn’t going to lose second place without a major shakeup in the market. MS isn’t that shakeup.

        1. I agree. It is a nice platform but it is niche and it has actually lost market share since launch.

      2. Windows Phone 7 being any where near the top is unbelievable in itself… Google gonna keep Android looking delectable iOS is going to go the way of the sidekick. was great the first few years but no way is Google going to let Android fall off like RIM did to blackberry… If android gets gone they will release something similar.

    3. They never had me especially when I saw the source of the article… BGR aka iPhony fans

  3. Nostradamus must work for Microsoft. I really can’t see windows gaining much market in its current state, its a terrible operating system. The tile format while nice to look at are not very useful and the lack of customization will keep many away.

    1. Like the lack of customization keeps people away from iPhones? (or what, I confess, I personally refer to as douchePhones)

      1. What type of phone you use doesn’t make you a douche. Generalized comments like your’s do.

        1. Unless using an Android phone makes you an Android, using a douchePhone wouldn’t make you a douche. I was jabbing the phone, not the user. In fact, I wouldn’t engage in that type of name-calling, especially toward a complete stranger and with no more basis than their choice of phone or a comment that I didn’t like. As it turned out, however, you were there to fill that void…

      2. Hey you can’t stop fools with money. If it looks pretty and sounds expensive they will buy it….

      3. many wont go back to Apple after using Android as they prefer the customization over apples oppressively similar look and sound.

  4. Seems that this incredible rise of Win phones has been predicted for quite some time, despite Microsoft’s miniscule market spare and microscopic app market. Kinda has me wondering if they’re dumping $$$ into PR to create a self-fulfilling prophecy!

    1. Thier app store is up to 100K submissions. While their current market share is low, once they start getting better hardware I fully see them taking 2nd from iOS. WP is fast and exceptionally smooth even on crap hardware. We have a few test units around here and for sub par hardware it runs smoother than android does/would on the same hardware. I don’t see these claims being far from the truth.

  5. Yeah, I don’t see Android continuing to gain marketshare. But I see it more because the iPhone is becoming available on more carriers and multiple price points (for older models). Google hasn’t done a great job of marketing the Android platform as a whole, even though individual carriers and OEMs do have good brand recognition.

    I’m comfortable with Android hovering at about 60-50 percent for the foreseeable future. You want Google to keep getting pushed by Apple, Microsoft, and RIM to keep making their product better.

  6. Windows phone? hahahahahahahahaha

  7. This is just worldwide though. In the USA it could be drastically different. For instance we have something like 31 or 32% for iOS, not 20.5. I imagine windows hitting maybe 20% with iOS keeping 30%, and android holding 40-45% by 2016

  8. This is a silly predicton. And the 19% number is exactly the same one they used 2 years ago for WP7. They’re just trying to save face, and say they weren’t wrong back then. WP7 will never be 2nd place, and will never beat iOS, which of course means it will never be close to Android, either.

    What I want to see is them saying how much it will have NEXT YEAR. Will WP7 have 5% next year? 7%? How much ? They are too scared to make that kind of prediction, so they’re just leaving a random number out there for the next 5 years. Why bother believing them then?

  9. I fail to see why articles keep projecting the rise of Windows phone 7, windows phone sales are horrible and the devices are incredibly limited in use, they even make iOS look extremely flexible and that’s an accomplishment.

    I used a windows phone for work for a while, it was sufficient for basic work tasks, but had no advantages over a iOS or Android phone, and it’s pathetic app store and limited interface made me very glad my work let me swap it for an Android phone, In my company I’ve seen a move away from wp7 which they pushed for awhile because the phones were cheap, to iOS or Android.

  10. I’ve used Windows Phone and I find it just too basic, and a tad boring.

  11. Right, so they also must have predicted that the Zune would be like… number one now. Oh, does anyone know what a Zune is? Sorry…

  12. I certainly would put aside Android for a better phone OS in the next five years but no such OS or hardware exist today. Maybe when a a phone comes out than can run a full version of Metro along with most Windows games and programs I will consider it.

  13. If Google Android wants to secure my business then they will release a REASONABLY sized 4G LTE phone running Jelly Bean this fall/winter with a 4.0″ screen, top end specs (Snapdragon S4 is great), top end build quality, with a pure Android experience.

  14. The simple problem with this article, regardless of the argument, is that wp7 smartphones sales as a percentage are shrinking, not growing. Until you see growth in wp7 sales, this is just conjecture. IE someone their really likes their windows 7 phone lol

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