Smartphone Market to Double Thanks to Android, Says Research Firm Ovum

By now it is becoming old hat to hear analysts spew smartphone figures with Android as the central theme, but here is one more for good measure. Research firm Ovum has taken a look at the current smartphone market and predicts that global shipments will double to 653 million by 2016. Where will much of the growth come from? A speculated 38 percent holding of the market by Android, which is proposed as the number one platform come that time.

The report goes on to place Apple in second with a much smaller  17.5 percent slice of the pie, though Ovum is banking on Nokia and Microsoft’s partnership both helping and hurting, leaving the combined entity at 17.2 percent. That still puts them in third and above RIM’s BlackBerry, but its a steep drop from Nokia’s current top dog position.

It’s all speculation for now. Heck, isn’t the world supposed to end in 2012 anyway? Here is the full press release:

Android to drive doubling of smartphone market by 2016

  • Global shipments to hit 653 million by 2016
  • Android will take 38% market share compared to Apple’s 17.5%
  • Nokia-Microsoft deal re-draws the smartphone landscape

The global smartphone market will double in size by 2016 to hit shipments of 653 million, predicts Ovum in a new forecast*. Android will drive the growth and will emerge as the dominant platform, dramatically outperforming Apple with a massive 20.5 per cent lead on market share, finds the independent telecoms analyst.

Ovum predicts that smartphones will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.5 per cent between 2010 and 2016 and will account for approximately 40 per cent of the mobile phone market. Asia-Pacific will be the largest region, shipping just over 200 million units by 2016. Western Europe and North America will remain strong markets with 175 million and 165 million shipments respectively.

Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach said: “The smartphone market will see significant growth over the next five years, once again outperforming the wider mobile phone market. We will see dramatic shifts in dominance for smartphone software platforms, with Android storming into the lead with 38 per cent market share, compared to Apple iOS’ 17.5 per cent, by 2016.

“The success of the Android platform is being driven by the sheer number of hardware vendors supporting it at both the high and low ends of the market.”

According to Ovum’s forecast, just behind Apple iOS will be Windows Phone, with 17.2 per cent market share by 2016, followed by BlackBerry OS, with 16.5 per cent.

Leach continued: “We expect at least one other platform to achieve mainstream success within the forecast period. This could be an existing player in the market such as Bada, WebOS, or MeeGo, or it could be a new entrant to the market place.”

According to Leach, the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft has redrawn the smartphone market and will result in a significant reduction in shipments of Symbian-based handsets as Nokia transitions to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. However, Nokia still expects to ship 150 million Symbian-based handsets so there will be shipments beyond 2012 and in some regions into 2016.

Leach continued: “For Microsoft the deal provides a committed handset partner that has the potential to make Windows Phone a mainstream smartphone platform. The risk to Microsoft is that other handset makers may choose not to compete with Nokia and may turn their backs on Windows Phone.”