As smartphones have become more powerful and accessible, they have slowly been stealing marketshare away from their messaging and flip phone brethren. The folks at International Data Corporation have done some research on smartphone growth and now have the numbers to back that growth up. IDC has found that vendors have shipped 119.4 million smartphones in the first half of 2010, up from 76.8 million in the first six months of last year. This means a 55.5 percent growth for smartphones compared to the same time one year ago. IDC has also predicted that manufacturers will ship out 269.6 million smartphones this year, which is up from the 173.5 million units shipped last year. When it comes to specific devices, the IDC says that the iPhone 4, HTC EVO 4G, and BlackBerry Torch will be the handsets that move a lot of units.
When it comes to the breakdown of specific OSes, the IDC says that Symbian is still king, with 40.1 percent marketshare. Some people have predicted Symbian's demise in the near future, but IDC believes that the platform will reign supreme until at least 2014. The firm also believes that BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 will seize good portions of the market. What about Android, you say? IDC says that we need to keep a close eye on Google's green robot, as different manufacturers and carriers will help the platform grow thanks to the customizations options offered by the OS. Finally, the firm doesn't believe that there will be a single, dominant mobile OS in the future, as it believes that the market will support up to five different platforms.
It's not secret that as smartphones have become cheaper and easier to use, more and more customers are flocking to upgrade their basic flip phones to a more versatile handset. Still, I'm not sure that smartphones will ever gain complete dominance of the market, as there are still plenty of customers that are perfectly happy with a no-frills device that just makes calls and sends texts, especially because of the cheaper monthly rates. As for the whole mobile OS war, I have to agree with the IDC when they say that we'll be seeing several different OSes available for some time to comes. Thanks to carrier exclusivity, CDMA vs. GSM, and all of the other differences between U.S. carriers and manufacturers, we won't be seeing one platform rule the market any time soon. Let the OS wars continue!