Just days ago we had IDC make a prediction for 2015, saying Android will get 45% and WP7 will basically get a 100% conversion from Symbian and a 20% market share by 2015. ABI’s numbers are a bit different but I wouldn’t put money on any of their predictions and I think the market shares will be much different by then.
ABI is saying that in 2016 Android will have 45% of the market, iOS 19%, RIM 14%, Bada 10%, WP7 7%, and others 5%. Let’s start with Android. It has ~30% of the global market share right now, but I think in the next 5 years it will reach at least 60% of the market. Right now Android works at the high-end mostly and also starting to conquer the mid-end level, which means because of the high prices for such phones, Android market share still isn’t what it could be.
When Android goes to the low-end level of $50 phones and below in a few years, it will push a lot more volume in phone units, which will make its market share much bigger than it is today. It has plenty of share to steal from Symbian S40, Symbian S60, BB OS, and all the other “old” operating systems in the next few years.
I believe iOS will be around that level ~20% even then. It has 15% right now globally and 25% in USA, but they’ll probably grow a little more in the next few years. Worst case scenario iOS will remain constant at 15%.
RIM, I doubt will stay at 14%. They are already at 14% and there’s no sign that they’ll continue to keep such a market share because they still don’t have a viable smartphone strategy for the future.
Bada OS at 10% seems high. It has 1.5% right now, but I just don’t see it growing much more than that. It will remain a niche OS if Samsung decides to keep it alive even as they move most of their phones to Android.
WP7 (or 8, 9 or 10) is predicted to have 7% in 2016 here. I have to say that it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s very hard for WP7 to grow right now, and even Nokia when do much to help it grow. In best case scenrio I give WP7 a maximum of 15% market share a few years from now, but that means it will be as popular as iOS, and there’s no way that will be true if Nokia alone will need to keep it alive. HTC, Samsung and LG would have to continue making WP phones. But if with this effort together WP will only get 15%, where will that leave Nokia? I think at around 10% at best. That’s right, I think Nokia will lose it’s #1 position in the smartphone market in the next few years and Samsung will take its place. I think Android would’ve helped Nokia maintain a higher share of the market, but probably not much bigger. Nokia was just too slow to react to the modern phones.
Android is the “Windows” of mobile devices whether Microsoft likes that or not. I think out of Microsoft, Apple and Google, Google should be the one to take the crown of this new paradigm of computing because although I don’t think any company, including Google, should be 100% trusted to do everything only to the benefit of the user all the time, I think it’s clear that out of all 3 Google is the best candidate to be the king of mobiles for the next decade or two, the way Microsoft was and still is for PC’s.
The good news is that I don’t think Google will reach 90% market share with Android in mobiles. I think they’ll reach growth wall around 60% realistically, or even 70% if pretty much everyone decides to go Android besides Apple, the way it’s in PC’s, except this time Apple has a stronger place in the market and they’ll probably maintain a 20% share or even exceed it with a couple more innovations from them. There’s only so much a single company can sell by itself though, so I doubt they’ll ever go past 30% share globally. But even with a share that is 2-3x smaller, Apple will still be incredibly influencial and will help balance Google’s power in the market, so I think the future of smartphones is in good hands with those 2.