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Smartphone shipments to reach 1.7 billion in 2017: Ovum

Zafar Anjum | May 4, 2012
Analyst house also says Asia Pacific will be the largest region in volume terms, shipping just over 200 million units by 2016.

Analyst house Ovum has done some star-gazing into the future of telecoms. Their prediction? Smartphones shipments will reach 1.7 billion in 2017 and Android will be the dominating platform.

According to Ovum, smartphones will outperform the overall market for mobile phones, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9 percent for the period 2011-17 to reach 1.7 billion units

Android will be the dominant operating system over the next five years as handset vendors rush to make it their primary smartphone platform, the analyst house said.

These predictions have made available in its latest forecast, Mobile Phone and Smartphone Forecast: 2012-17.

Highest demand in AP region

In its report, Ovum reveals global annual mobile phone shipments will grow at a CAGR of 6.3 percent between 2011 and 2017, driven primarily by demand from emerging markets where connection growth will continue to fuel handset shipments.

Asia Pacific will be the largest region in volume terms, shipping just over 200 million units by 2016, said Ovum in its report. New shipments in developed markets, such as North America and Western Europe, will be almost entirely made up of smartphones, while feature phones will continue to play a small role in emerging markets in 2017.

"Android will dominate the smartphone market over the next five years," said Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum. "While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we're now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signalling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers."

Apple vs. Android

Ovum said that smartphones based on Android accounted for 44 percent of the smartphone market in 2011, up from 17 percent in 2010. Its share will zoom up to 48 percent in 2017, as Android-based smartphones are expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.8 percent over the forecast period.

Apple's iOS will be the second most widely deployed software platform in 2017, accounting for 27 percent of the smartphone market, a slight increase on the 23 percent share of the market it reported in 2011.

"Although it will remain behind Android in terms of shipment volumes, Apple will continue to be a key player and innovator in the smartphone market over the forecast period," says Leach. "We expect Microsoft, despite its slow start, to have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017."

The Windows Phone platform will account for 13 percent of the smartphone market in 2017.

Despite the troubles, Ovum predicts RIM will still be a player in the market. RIM's BlackBerry platform will still represent 10 percent of the market in 2017, according to Ovum.


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