A new research report from Analysys Mason predicts that Windows Phone will become the fastest-growing smartphone operating system in the next five years. However, it will still only have a single-digit percentage share of the smartphone market in 2017.
Last year, Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS was shipped in 11 million devices. In 2017 this figure is expected to reach 136 million units; approximately the same number of Apple devices shipped in 2012. It’ll mean that Windows smartphones account for 9% of the world’s smartphone shipments in 2017, compared to 23% for Apple.
Android smartphone shipments are expected to account for 58% of the market next year and are then predicted to stay at that level for the next four years.
Ronan de Renesse, the report’s author and Principal Analyst for the Mobile Broadband and Devices research programme at Analysys Mason, said “Having a third significant OS player like Windows in the smartphone market would benefit mobile operators because it would reduce Apple’s and Google’s control over the market. It would also encourage subscribers to move from one OS to another, as well as improve operators’ negotiating position in smartphone retail.”
Overall, the number of smartphone shipments is forecast to increase from 700 million this year (41.2% of total mobile phone shipments) to 1.37 billion by the end of 2017 (a 70% share of shipments). The report says handset vendors’ share of smartphone shipments will be volatile as brands with their own content/device ecosystems or with a strong presence in emerging markets will maintain or increase their market share at the expense of others.