IDC in a long-term prediction Thursday expected Android to stay in front in market share over the next four years but also that Windows Phone would claim second place. Google would move from 38.9 percent to 43.8 percent by 2015. Nokia's deal with Microsoft, however, would see all Windows phone platforms grow from just 3.8 percent today to 20.3 percent, just slightly under what the outgoing Symbian platform had this year.
The gain would supposedly put Windows Phone past the iPhone. Apple was holding 18.2 percent of the market today and, while it would keep third place, would drop to 16.9 percent in the future. RIM would stay alive in the market and drop less than a point to 13.4 percent.
Such predictions are typically risky and make certain assumptions about competitors both staying in the market and not launching any radical revisions that change the dynamic. Predictions before February of this year didn't anticipate Microsoft's Nokia deal at all. Nokia itself has also had to substantially lower its expectations and is widely expected to bleed total market share before it has a chance to come back.
In the short term, IDC expected the smartphone market to explode this year, growing 55 percent versus 2010 and reaching 472 million phones. The number was expected to double again, but only by 2015. Senior researcher Kevin Restivo argued that the "floodgates are open wide" and that much of the growth was in Asia-Pacific or Latin America, where many are using smartphones for the first time and can depend on it even more for banking and shopping.