IDC boosts 2010 smartphone shipment projections by 10 per cent

Debut of iPhone 4, Torch and Evo 4G, coupled with imminent unveiling of new Android phones, prompts more optimistic outlook

IDC today said that Global smartphone shipments will jump by 55 per cent this year compared to 2009, and 10 per cent more than projections it made earlier this year.

The projections were upgraded, IDC said, following the launch of several new smartphones, including the iPhone 4, the BlackBerry Torch and the Evo 4G. In addition, more Android phones are slated for introduction this fall, it added.

All in all, IDC said it expects a "flurry" of smartphone purchases to be completed by year's end.

"The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year," said Kevin Restivo, an IDC analyst.

Even with strong Android growth in 2010, Restivo predicts that no one smartphone OS will dominate the mobile phone business the way that Microsoft Windows has long dominated the personal computer market. "IDC believes the market will comfortably support up to five OS players over the next five years," he said.

IDC's updated forecast for all of 2010 calls for mobile phone vendors to ship nearly 270 million smartphones, compared to 173.5 million in 2009. For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped 199.4 million smartphones, a 55.5 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Ramon Llamas, an IDC analyst, called Android the "wild card" in the smartphone race. Users have warmed to the OS due to its ease of use and a growing application storefront, he added.

HTC and Motorola have "leapt out in front" of the Android device market, but Llamas expects Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics and Samsung to be strong as well. Samsung has capitalized on Android with Galaxy S models that are supported by all four major U.S. carriers.

Gartner last month issued a report that listed Android as the top smartphone OS in the U.S. during the second quarter.

Smartphones will boost the overall mobile phone market by 14 per cent in 2010, IDC added. In 2009, the overall market had declined by nearly 3 per cent, which researchers attibuted to the global recession.

In 2011, IDC believes smartphone shipments will increase by 24.5 per cent.

IDC noted that Symbian, which powers Nokia devices, will finish 2010 with 40 per cent of the global market, while BlackBerry holds 18 per cent and Android 16 per cent. Apple's iPhone OS, known as iOS, will have nearly 15 per cent, and Windows Phone 6.8 per cent, the researcher added.

In 2014, Android will grow to nearly 25 per cent market share, while Windows Phone hits nearly 10 per cent as the market share of all the other major OSs decline, IDC said.

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