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Grow Your Business Technology

Smartphones Dominate Mobile Growth

The smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market this year, according to a new market study. And the lion's share of the market will be claimed by phones using Google's Android operating system.

The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2 percent in 2011 as more consumers and business users turn in their feature phones for smartphones with more advanced features, according to market analytics firm IDC. Smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones this year compared to 303.4 million units shipped in 2010.

“Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional,” said Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Last year’s high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases. The expected market growth of 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from what we saw in 2010.”

Manufacturers have unleashed a steady stream of new models and features over the past two years to capture the strong consumer demand for smartphones. The battle for mind and market share has also resulted in stiff competition among smartphone operating systems .

After nailing the No. 2 position last year, Android is poised to take over as the leading smartphone operating system this year, claiming a market share of 39.5 percent. By 2015, Android’s market share is expected to reach 45.4 percent, according to IDC.

Taking over in second place in 2011 will be Nokia’s Symbian operating system. But it won’t stay there for long. Nokia’s recent announcement that it would shift from Symbian to Windows Phone will have significant implications for the smartphone market in the future. By 2015, IDC said, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will have claimed the No. 2 spot with a 20.9 percent market share.

And Apple will maintain its hold on the third spot in 2011, IDC said.