IDC bet on Android to continue to top Apple iOS

According to a recent post on eweek a new research note from IDC has predicted that  Android and Windows Mobile will see their smartphone market share increase by 2014, both Apple and BlackBerry will experience declines. Which is stating the obvious but it’s always good to reinforce the message that mobile is not just all about Apple.

The research firm also added that the overall market for smartphones is due to increase 24.5% in 2011, with rapid growth only levelling off by 2014.

“The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year,” Kevin Restivo, an IDC analyst, wrote in a 7 September statement. “Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations.”

IDC expects Android’s smartphone market share to increase from 16.3% to 24.6% between 2010 and 2014. The research note also suggests that “Windows Mobile,”  will grow from 6.8% to 9.8% of the market during that period. To be honest Microsoft couldn’t do much worse than their current market share and the number of  manufacturers announcing Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices should garner them  at least a few percentage points in the market.

According to the eWeek report IDC predicts Apple’s iOS will fall from its 14.7% market share in 2010 to 10.9% in 2014, according to the research note, while BlackBerry OS experiences a slight dip from 17.9% to 17.3%.

“Android is the wild card, deserving close observation for the rest of this year and the years to come,” Ramon Llamas, another IDC analyst, wrote in the same 7 September statement. “Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be. In addition, users have quickly warmed to Android, comparing it to iOS due to its ease of use and a growing mobile application storefront.”

Llamas predicted that Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics and Samsung will be the key manufacturers in expanding the Android market in coming quarters.

While this is sounds bad for Apple, it has to be put in context. Their market share is likely reduce but at the same time the market is increasing hugely. It’s likely that Apple will continue to see stellar growth of it’s iOS devices the only difference is that  they won’t have quite as big total share of the market, if I was Apple I’d still be very happy.

Additionally we can see a potential Android backlash forming. The multiple Android devices with different implementations of the OS is starting to cause confusion in the market. The layers of manufacturer and operator branding on top of Android are starting make it difficult for the end user to know if a phone actually is an Android phone. The beauty of the iPhone is that any iPhone user can pick up an iPhone users phone and use it. That just doesn’t work with Android, there’s so much layering put on top of Android by the manufacturers and operators that it’s almost impossible  for one Android phone user to use another Android phone users phone. And that’s madness. The beauty of Windows is that I can use any Windows computer worldwide without a problem.

On top of this you add problems with operators indecisions and advice on upgrades of one version of Android to another are starting to annoy users of Android. Typical comments are “If Apple can switch a hundred million users from iOS version 3.0 to 4.0 seamlessly, then why the hell can’t I upgrade my Android phone from 1.2 to Frodo, or whatever it’s called?”

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