Apple's share in the smartphone will settle down over the next few years while Android makes a fast rise, IDC predicted today. Researchers expect the iPhone to drop from 14.7 percent today to 10.9 percent by 2014. Android would account for most of the switch, as it would overtake the BlackBerry and claim second place with 24.6 percent.
Nokia is still expected to have little hope of turning around Symbian's fate and could watch its share fall from 40.1 percent now to 32.9 percent. IDC places optimism in Windows Phone 7 salvaging Windows Mobile and would expect it to jump three points to 9.8 percent, although this would leave its fifth-place position virtually unchanged.
The study forecasts a smartphone boom over the next few years, starting with a 55.5 percent jump this year over 2009 and a 24.5 percent increase in 2011. Researchers still thought there would be enough fierce competition to keep five companies with significant share through 2014. Since customers are upgrading phones much more often and are more likely to switch, no one firm has an absolute lock, IDC said.
Whether or not the predictions hold true is uncertain and could be dictated by factors not included in the new studies. Morgan Stanley has warned of a much faster BlackBerry decline that could play into the hands of both Apple and Google. Likewise, the effects of the increasingly likely Verizon iPhone aren't yet known. Partial studies have shown a large number of willing iPhone buyers at Verizon and that some Android buyers, though not all, may be opting in solely because they can't afford or are unwilling to switch to AT&T.