The global installed base of smartphones will total 1.4 billion by the end of 2013, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research. Of this base, 57% will run on Android and 21% on iOS. Meanwhile, there will be 268 million tablets in active use, with 62% of them built on iOS and 28% on Android. The annual growth rate against 2012 will be 44% for smartphones and 125% for tablets. Despite Apple’s and Google’s strong hold of the market, ABI Research anticipates that the future won’t be quite as duopolistic as it may seem now.
Outside of the leading two operating systems, how will the world look for the two main challengers, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10? Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen comments, “2013 should be seen as relative success for both Microsoft and BlackBerry. For the end of the year, we expect there to be 45 million Windows Phone handsets in use, with BlackBerry 10 holding an installed base of close to 20 million. Microsoft will also have 5.5 million Windows-powered tablets to show for it.”
Importantly, the figures refer to actively used devices, which is what app developers – with certain caveats in mind – should generally treat as an addressable market for their releases. As Markkanen points out, “The greatest fear for both Microsoft and BlackBerry is that the initial sales of their smartphones will disappoint and thereby kill off the developer interest, which then would effectively close the window of opportunity on further sales success. Our view is that the installed bases of this scale would be large enough to keep these two in the game. It will definitely also help that both firms have actively kept the developers’ interest in mind while designing and rolling out their platforms.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Mobile Application Technologies
Research Service, which takes a deep dive into various technologies that enable new and transformative applications. This research involves identifying early signals of how advances in areas such as Augmented Reality, HTML5, browsers, and operating systems are translating into developer activity, as well as visionary predictions on how these enablers may reshape the industry in the future.