By 2013, IDC estimates the global shipments of smartphones will surpass 390 million units, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9 percent for the 2009-2013 forecast period.
The smartphone market has a constantly shifting mobile operating system (OS) landscape. In a market once ruled by BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, new players with open standards (Android) and intuitive design and navigation (Mac OS X and webOS) have received strong user and handset vendor interest.
"Mobile operating systems have become the key ingredient in the highly competitive mobile device market," said Stephen D. Drake, vice president, Mobility and Telecom.
"Although the overall look and feel of the device will still play an important role in the buying process, the wrong choice of operating system coupled with an awkward user interface can mean the difference between success and failure."
Symbian will hold onto its top spot worldwide throughout the forecast period. Due mainly to the strength of Nokia in markets outside of the United States, Symbian continues to lead all other mobile operating systems.
Android will experience the fastest growth of any mobile operating system. Starting from a small base of 690,000 units in 2008, total Android shipments will reach 68 million unites by 2013, making for a CAGR of 150.4 percent. Android will benefit from having a growing footprint of handset vendors supporting it and will finish second to Symbian in shipments by 2013.
Linux and webOS shipments will struggle throughout the forecast period. Shipments of Linux-powered devices will trend down due to greater emphasis on the Android platform but will not go away entirely as some vendors will continue to support it. Palm's webOS, despite growing steadily, will capture limited market share due to limited deployment and availability of devices across multiple carriers.