IDC: Android, Windows Phone 7 Will Lead 2015 Smartphone Market

Worldwide smartphone shipments are set to pass 450 million units this year, an increase of 49.2 percent over 2010's smartphone shipments of 303.4 million.

According to an IDC report released Tuesday, Google's Android OS will lead the smartphone market, claiming 39.5 percent of the market by the end of 2011 and 45.4 percent by 2015.

"For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party," said Ramon Llamas, IDC's senior research analyst for the Mobile Devices Technology and Trends group. "This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users."

Regarding Windows Phone 7 -- the other newcomer to the smartphone OS field -- IDC expects the recent deal struck between Microsoft and Nokia to be a catalyst for strong growth for the smartphone brand. The research firm projects that Windows Phone 7 will have 20.9 percent of the market by 2015, putting it second behind Android.

IDC's relatively positive forecast for Windows Phone 7 has come under fire by critics, including longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley. In a recent blog post on ZDNet, she wrote that IDC is making a significant leap in assuming that Nokia users will switch from the Symbian OS to Windows Phone 7 devices.

"I'm sure Microsoft is counting on getting a hefty share boost from its $1 billion-plus investment in Nokia, but will the Softies manage to hold onto almost all the Symbian base, as Nokia tries to wean them from Symbian? I'd think, given some Nokia users' skepticism about the sanity of the deal, more than a few might go Android or iOS," Foley wrote.

Foley also pointed out that a lot can happen in IDC's four-year projection window. The entrance of new devices and companies in the relatively young market will more than likely affect final sales numbers.

ZDNet's Larry Dignan commented in a separate blog post that the Nokia-Microsoft deal probably won't bear fruit for another year. "Let's see, Nokia won't have a barrage of Windows Phone 7 phones in the market until 2012," Dignan wrote. "Nokia is essentially taking a year off while other handset makers (Samsung, HTC, RIM, Apple, Motorola) keep pumping out smartphones. Nokia is a no-show in the U.S. and it's possible that folks that leave the handset maker in 2011 may not come back."

Here is the complete breakdown of IDC's smartphone forecast:

Operating System

2011 Market Share

2015 Market Share













Windows Mobile






Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.