Android Top Dog as Mobile Phone Growth Hits a Brick Wall

Mobile is trending high these days, though economic conditions are still the determining factor for any market. To wit, International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that the mobile phone market will grow just 1.4 percent year-over-year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite what it expects will be a record number of smartphone shipments.

"Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets."

Nexus 4

Going forward, IDC expects Android to maintain its dominant market share position, though it will also be "the biggest target for competing operating systems," especially Windows Phone. By 2016, IDC predicts Android will account for 63.8 percent of all smartphones, down from 68.3 percent in 2012. In that same time frame, IDC believes iOS will increase its share from 18.8 percent to 19.1 percent, while Windows Phone will show the biggest gains, going from 2.6 percent to 11.4 percent.