Android: King of the Smartphones

Android won the smartphone OS war this year in definitive fashion, capturing 39% of the market, according to IDC. The research firm predicted that Android-based smartphones will dominate the market in 2015 with a nearly 44% share, while Apple and Research In Motion will battle for second place.

Android easily passed last year's leader, Nokia's Symbian OS, whose market share fell from 36% in 2010 to a projected 21%. Android's share jumped more than 15 percentage points, from 23% in 2010, IDC said.

RIM's BlackBerry operating system will see its market share slip from 16% last year to 14% in 2011, while the share of Apple's iOS will increase from 16% last year to 18% in 2011, IDC predicted. Meanwhile, Windows Phone will wind up with less than a 4% share, since it will soon replace Symbian for Nokia.

Regardless of winners and losers, there's been substantial growth in smartphone use worldwide. IDC said almost 305 million devices shipped in 2010 and projected that this year's shipments will hit 472 million -- a growth rate of 55%.

Future smartphone growth will be driven largely by the number of applications available, said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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