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Android to Leapfrog Windows in Smart Connected Device Market By 2016

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(Image: Stock.xchng)
(Image: Stock.xchng)


  • Android to take 31.1% market share by 2016
  • Windows market share to drop to 25.1%
  • iOS share to rise to 17.3%

Android will overtake Windows as the world’s most popular smart connected device platform by 2016, according to a report from the International Data Corporation.

The Windows x86 operating system is currently the leader in the smart connected device market, with 35.9% share. However, IDC predicts a sharp drop in the popularity of Microsoft’s platform over the next five years, forecasting its share to slump to 25.1% by 2016.

As consumers and businesses shift steadily toward mobile computing, Android is positioned to triumph over its rivals. Mobile devices powered by Google’s operating system will rise slightly from 29.4% in 2011 to 31.1% in 2016, leapfrogging Windows for the number-one spot in smart connected device market share.

Apple’s iOS platform is also expected to rise from 14.6% to 17.3% over the same period.

Sector-Wide Growth

The smart connected device market includes PCs, tablet PCs and smartphones, and IDC predicts rapid growth across the board for all devices.

Sales in the sector topped $489 billion in 2011, with over 916 million units shipped worldwide, according to IDC’s data. In 2012, shipments are expected to top 1.1 billion units, as computer users feed their increasing appetite for smart connectivity.

Over the next five years, the sector is expected grow at an annual rate of 15.4%, more than doubling 2011 shipment numbers with 1.84 billion units in 2016.

IDC vice president of Clients and Displays Bob O’Donnell says mobile applications and business solutions are among the main factors driving the growth: "Whether it is consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust app ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school's computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual's life."

Apple iOS Rules Apps

The impending domination of Google’s platform is largely due to the number of competing Android device manufacturers. However, Apple will continue to rule the mobile app roost, with developers sticking to iOS, according to IDC’s research director of Mobile Connected Devices, Tom Mainelli.

"Android's growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices. While we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain,” said Mainelli.

He adds: “Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform's smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps."

Key Statistics – Global Mobile Devices (source: IDC)

  • In 2011, 916 million smart connected devices were shipped worldwide, totaling $489 billion in revenue. In 2012, shipments are forecast to rise to 1.1 billion.
  • Apple’s iOS-powered devices will account for 17.3% of the market in 2016, compared to 14.6% in 2011.
  • PCs running Microsoft’s x86 Windows operating system are forecast drop dramatically from 35.9% of the market in 2011 to 25.1% share in 2016.

By James Mulholland for
James Mulholland is a Paris-based internet and broadcast journalist specializing in sports, current affairs and technology news, while also freelancing as a photographer.

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