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Windows Phone 7 is predicted to be the second largest smart phone OS, by market share, within four years.  (Source: Neowin)

Meanwhile, the Android army is also on the rise. Gartner predicts it will have almost a 50 percent market share by next year (2012).  (Source: DeviantArt)

Microsoft's struggling partner Nokia was recently surpassed by the second largest Android smart phone maker, HTC, in market cap.  (Source: Corbis / Joel W. Rogers)
Android estimated to hit near 50 percent; meanwhile, HTC passes Nokia in market cap

Gartner, Inc., one of the world's most respectable market research firms, has announced [press release] that its research supports our hypothesis that Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 smartphone OS will become the market's second largest player when the phase-out of Nokia Oyj.'s (NOK) Symbian OS is complete.  

In a research report released this week, it estimates that this year the platform will only rise modestly from 4.2 percent market share in 2010 to 5.6 percent in 2011 (still behind Symbian, in fifth place).  But by 2012 it will jump to a 10.8 percent, switching places with Symbian.  And three years later in 2015, it will have surpassed iOS and Research in Motion, reaching 19.5 percent market share, taking the #2 spot in world market share.

The report is most pessimistic about Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (RIM) prospects.  It predicts that RIM will fall from a 2010 peak market share of 16.0 percent to 11.1 percent by 2015.  It also predicts that Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS will rise this year, but fall by 2015.

Aside from Microsoft, the other big winner if Gartner's predictions hold true will be Google.  Gartner predicts that Google will rise from a narrow lead of 22.7 in 2010 world sales, to a dominant 49.2 percent market share by 2012.  

Variety of handset options, bleeding edge hardware, and a relatively strong brand image continue to drive Android sales upward even as some of its other competitors flounder.

On Wednesday in the Asian markets, Taiwan's HTC Corp. (2498) passed Finnish phonemaker Nokia in total market cap.  Market cap isn't the best measure of true performance or company reach (Apple recently passed Microsoft), but it does off a bit of a thermometer to the market's perception of a company.

HTC's cap hit $33.8B USD after shares rose 5.3 percent in the day's trading.  Nokia managed a modest 1.1 percent raise, with its cap closing at $33.6B USD.

Nokia ships far more phones than HTC.  HTC, currently Asia's second largest phone maker (in market cap), shipped 24.7 million handsets in 2010, according to Gartner.  By contrast, Nokia shipped 461 million units last year.

However, HTC's phones are largely high-profit smartphones, whereas Nokia's sales are still heavily driven by low-margin older phone designs.  In that regard the companies are much closer in profit than the sales numbers might indicate.  HTC's operating margin, a measure of profitability was 16 percent during 2010's final calendar quarter, while Nokia's was 7 percent.

Traders' valuation of HTC may also be based on the fact that the company has a great deal of upward momentum.  Nokia, meanwhile, has a degree of downward momentum as it tries to make the painful transition from Symbian to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

HTC's rise in the smartphone market has been nothing short of meteoric.  The largely unknown device maker has risen to become one of the premier Android smart phone makers, trailing only South Korean giant Samsung Electronics (005930).  Its success largely owes to its decision to fully throw its support behind the "winning horse" in the smartphone race -- Android.

The company does face some threats, though, such as Chinese Android phone-maker ZTE (000063).

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RE: M$ Pays for another study
By Mitch101 on 4/8/2011 10:57:24 AM , Rating: 2
Not even going to comment on your first zero comment you dont get it the first time you wont understand the second time around.

The memory slot idea is brilliant. For example the iPhone is hard set on memory no expansion so Apple must make multiple versions of the phone. With the Microsoft phone you get the one phone and add as much memory as you believe you need. If your iPhone runs out of memory guess what you have to sell it and get a new one with more memory. With the Windows Phone 7 you just replace the memory. No need to sell and buy a new one. One phone you choose how much memory you need. Sure its not swappable but if you run out of 32+ internal memory on a phone with a 5megpixel camera and 720p video your just being a hog about something.

Now for those and the ones without a memory slot also With Microsofts online cloud you dont need to swap memory cards you can upload to the cloud and log into your pc and the pictures and movies you recorded are there and downloaded to your PC. Sure it would be nice but its first gen the iPhone is on its 4th and still doesn't have a memory slot and its selling well.

There is nothing out there that requires a dual core cpu in a phone that 99% of the people need and the apps are written with the lowest common denominator like many PC games are held back because they are written with Wii, 360, PS3 in mind for maximum sales. I dont know of any applications that currently require a dual core chip in a phone so its overkill currently. Sure it will eventually be needed but not today. When you can name 50 must have cant live without apps on the device that require that dual core you will be right otherwise they run fine on a single core 1ghz proc.

I do believe the Windows 7 phone manufacturers should have 8 megapixel cameras with full 720P video recording not VGA and reduces FPS at 720P with a better lens on the device and a front facing camera even if it doesn't use it currently.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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