Windows Phone to Top iPhone (Guess Which Year....)

Research firm IDC forecasts that Microsoft's Windows Phone will improve on its current lackluster showing to move into a strong second place by 2015, helped by the Nokia deal.

The iPhone came on strong and best all competitors, right? Well, the race ain't over, according to some observers. Stuart Johnston reports.

As more users trade in their feature phones for more capable devices, the overall smartphone market worldwide is set to grow by some 55 percent in 2011, a big jump from 2010, a new report says.

In its latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, analyst firm IDC predicts that vendors will ship 472 million smartphones this year, up from approximately 305 million in 2010.

Further, that number will reach nearly a billion -- some 982 million -- shipped globally in 2015, the report said. Driving the move will be falling smartphones prices, along with increasing functionality, and lower cost data plans.

"Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their 'talk-and-text' devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android will hang onto its current lead in smartphone operating systems, and even expand its market share to 43.8 percent globally in 2015 from 38.9 percent in 2011. Android overtook Nokia's Symbian operating system in the fourth quarter of 2010, the report said.

In fact, Symbian's second place position in the smartphone market space will be greatly eroded -- falling from 20.6 percent in 2011 to less than 0.1 percent in 2015 -- due to Nokia's decision in February to switch its smartphone OS to Microsoft's Windows Phone.

Microsoft's Windows Phone, which also currently includes its aging Windows Mobile system, will go from a weak fifth place of 3.8 percent share this year to a strong second place of 20.3 percent in 2015, largely on the strength of the Nokia deal, IDC said.

At the same time IDC's analysts expect Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS sales to flatten out, slipping from 18.2 percent in 2011 to 16.9 percent in 2015.

Read the rest about Smartphone sales in 2015 at EnterpriseMobileToday.

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