Smartphones are expected to ship in a record number this holiday season, yet it seems that the entire mobile phone market will experience only a 1.4 percent growth in 2012, a recent report from IDC shows.
This is the slowest growth rate in the past three years the research firm notes, adding that over 1.7 billion mobile phones are expected to be shipped before the end of this year.
However, it seems that the market will pick up steam in the years to come, and that over 2.2 billion devices are expected to be shipped in 2016.
On the smartphone market, Google’s Android operating system is expected to remain at the top, though there will be changes related to other platforms out there.
“Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is a constantly shifting mobile operating system landscape,” added Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.
“Android is expected to stay in front, but we also expect it to be the biggest target for competing operating systems to grab market share.”
The upcoming release of BlackBerry 10 and new devices powered by it should help Research In Motion gain some more ground next year, though it is expected to maintain about the same market share, IDC suggests.
Windows Phone, on the other hand, will enjoy a fast growth in the quarters to come, and will see itself in the position to challenge BlackBerry for the third place on the smartphone OS market.
The launch of new devices coming from Nokia, HTC, Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei will drive adoption and will better position the platform against rivals. However, IDC suggests that the OS will need more than one year to grab the third spot on the market.
“At the same time, Windows Phone stands to gain the most market share as its smartphone and carrier partners have gained valuable experience in selling the differentiated experience Windows Phone has to offer,” Ramon Llamas said.
“What bears close observation is how BlackBerry's new platform, BlackBerry 10, and multiple versions of Linux will affect the market once the devices running these systems are available.”
With only a 2.6 percent market share in 2012, Windows Phone is expected to grow to 11.4 percent in 2016, sending BlackBerry to the fourth place and diminishing Android’s dominance from 68.3 percent to only 63.8 percent market share.