IDC: Smart Phone Market Will Grow 50% This Year

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — With more and more consumers and business users clamoring for smartphones, the global market for these handsets is slated to grow nearly 50 percent this year, research firm IDC said Tuesday.

IDC expects the market to grow 49.2 percent in 2011, with smartphone makers shipping over 450 million smartphones, up from 303.4 million shipped in 2010.

Growth last year was "exceptional," helped by many people buying smart phones that they'd held off on buying in 2009 due to the shaky economy, IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. This year, growth will still be notable, but will taper off somewhat from last year, he said.

As for which smartphone operating system will reign, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC thinks Google Inc.'s Android software will wrestle the lead from Nokia Corp.'s Symbian software, which has been the market leader.

For 2011, IDC expects Android smartphones to make up 39.5 percent of the market, while smartphones running Symbian will account for 20.9 percent. Apple Inc.'s iPhone is expected to make up 15.7 percent of the market and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry software are expected to make up 14.9 percent.

By 2015, IDC believes Android-running phones will take up 45.4 percent of the market, while phones running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Phone software will take up 20.9 percent of the market and the iPhone will capture 15.3 percent of the market.