IDC puts Symbian still significantly ahead in 2013

Published by Steve Litchfield at 9:37 UTC, January 27th 2010

Coming on the eve of Apple's big tablet release and Nokia's Q4 09 results announcement, IDC gathered all their numbers, analysts and (ahem) runes and produced a forecast for the smartphone market in 2013. Unusually, for an American data analysis firm, there's surprising understanding of the worldwide scene, with the headline stat being that the smartphone market will exceed 390 million units per year by 2013, with Symbian holding on to its world marketshare lead over the next three years. Quotes from the IDC press release and my own predictions below.

From the IDC release:

"By 2013, IDC forecasts that worldwide shipments of converged mobile devices, also known as smartphones, will surpass 390 million units, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9% for the 2009–2013 forecast period. Underpinning the converged mobile device market is the constantly shifting mobile operating system (OS) landscape. In a market that was once dominated by a handful of pioneers, such as BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, newcomers touting open standards (Android) and intuitive design and navigation (Mac OS X and webOS) have garnered strong end-user and handset vendor interest."

Key findings from the IDC report include: 

  • "Symbian will retain its leadership position worldwide throughout the forecast period. Due primarily to the strength of Nokia in markets outside of the United States, Symbian continues to lead all other mobile operating systems.
  • Android will experience the fastest growth of any mobile operating system. Starting from a very small base of just 690,000 units in 2008, total Android-powered shipments will reach 68.0 million units by 2013, making for a CAGR of 150.4%. Android will benefit from having a growing footprint of handset vendors supporting it and will finish second to Symbian in shipments by 2013.
  • Linux and webOS shipments will struggle throughout the forecast period. Shipments of Linux-powered devices will trend down due to greater emphasis on the Android platform but will not disappear entirely as some vendors will continue to support it. Palm's webOS, despite growing steadily, will capture limited market share due to limited deployment and availability of devices across multiple carriers."

The report rings true, my own personal forecast is that in 2013 the smartphone marketshare split will be:

  1. Symbian Foundation 34%
  2. Android 20%
  3. OS X (iPhone etc) 18%
  4. Blackberry OS 15%
  5. Others (including Windows Mobile, Web OS, Linux/Maemo, etc) 13%

Steve Litchfield

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