The guys over at the International Data Corporation (IDC) issued a new press release yesterday to announce that Android is expected to “reach its peak this year as mobile phone shipments slow.” Sure, analysts have access to lots of data which they can track and aggregate to conduct such studies, but the truth is that they have no way of actually knowing what will happen four years from now.

According to IDC, Android will reach 61% market share in 2012, and drop to 52.9% in 2016. But will that really be a drop? When you look solely at percentages that’s what IDC’s study seems to indicate, but the total number of smartphones that will be sold in 2016 will be far greater that the number of smartphone sales for 2012. Therefore a 52.9% percent of that 2016 smartphone pie could be a lot larger compared to this year’s numbers.

The same argument is valid for the other mobile platforms mentioned in the press release, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and others. iOS is expected to drop from 20.5% to 19.0% market share in the following four years, while Windows Phone, which accounts for just 5.2% of the market this year, will go up to 19.2% in the following years, in what looks to be an impressive climb for a mobile OS that’s not popular with the crowds yet.

The study also reveals that BlackBerry OS is expected to maintain its current share of the smartphone business, roughly 6%, but will RIM and BlackBerry continue to exist four years from now? The Canadian company, once a major player in the mobile environment, is bleeding customers and money right now. The recent change in leadership may have come too late. But being late has been a characteristic of RIM’s business strategy in recent years especially when it comes to launching products capable to take on Android and iOS.

The IDC says that phone vendors will ship 1.8 billion devices this year, 100 million more than last year. By 2016, that number is expected to go up to 2.3 billion mobile phones, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the number will be even higher, considering that mobile devices, especially smart ones, are in very high demand. The study points out this fact as well, saying that feature phone sales will drop by 10% this year, and even so, feature phones will account for 61.6% of the total number of phone sales this year. What’s interesting is the growth forecast in the smartphone business, with shipments expected to grow 38.8% year over year to 686 million units in 2012.

The study does say that Android, iOS and Windows Phone will dominate the scenery in the mobile business for the years to come, which is something we could have told you ourselves. After all, there’s no other player in the business ready to release a competitive mobile OS that would instantly woo the crowds. But I’d certainly like to see how those numbers change once you factor in other devices that run the same mobile operating system, such as tablets and media players.

What mobile OS do you think you’ll favor four years from now? Comment down below and let us know!

  • johndoe

    Lmao… wp7 will tank!

  • baubau

    It is ridiculous how they estimated those percentages… for an industry where innovations occur so quickly, nobody knows what will happen after 4 years. It is strange how they believe Android will fall some 8.5 percentage points, while ios will shrink by just 0.5 percentage points.
    It should worth Androidauthority to keep this article, to compare these results in 2016.
    In my opinion, Android will continue to gain market share thanks to penetration the emerging markets. Android may run on budget devices, which are accessible to those clients which do not want to spend too much on such device, or to people which cannot afford a premium device.
    Moreover, this trend is not over… Prices will diminish in the future, hence more people will afford to buy Android devices, while Apple will promote only “premium” devices, expensive (and useless, on my opinion).

  • AppleFUD

    Any prediction concerning the mobile market four years out is a JOKE! How quickly did RIM plummet? How quickly did Nokia’s smartphone market share plummet?

    For all we know everyone will go goo goo gaga over Win8 and then feel the need to get a WP8 phone. . . or just the opposite.

    Or someone will create something totally different — shoot a chip into our necks that does everything and needs no battery as we are the battery. . .

  • 4 years from now? Thats at least two full 2 year contracts.. impossible to tell how things will be then. But im rooting for android of course ! ;)

  • JayZed

    This is so unrealistic. Based on “my data”, in 2016, Android will be right around 37%, iOS at 18%, Windows at 43%, and others at 2%. I hate Apple and I wish that number were much lower, but Google seems hell bent on encouraging the iFanatics to stay with Apple by supporting them with Google services. Irritating!

  • cheetose4

    IDC predictions are so off. I remember last year that the claimed wP7 would have %20 market share now and rival android in two years. Windows phone dropped below 3%. Great job IDC