Surging Android to Eclipse Windows PCs by 2016, IDC Says

Paul Lilly

You can't walk down the street without noticing at least one person wielding a smartphone, and in more busy areas such as airports or even on the bus, you're likely to spot bipeds bouncing their fingers on a tablet. Connected devices are everywhere, and according to data released by International Data Corporation (IDC), shipments of smart connected devices, including PCs, media tables, and smartphones, topped 916 million units with revenues of more than $489 billion in 2011. By 2016, IDC expects shipments to reach 1.84 billion units, along with a changing of the guard.

IDC says there will be a "dramatic shift" in platform dominance between 2011 and 2016, where the "once-dominant Windows on x86 platform" sees its market share drop from 35.9 percent to 25.1 percent, while Android-based devices running on ARM CPUs grows from 29.4 percent to a market-leading 31.1 percent.

"Android's growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices," said Tom Mainelli , research director, Mobile Connected Devices. "So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain. Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform's smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps."

iOS devices don't figure into the picture as prominently as Android or Windows-based PCs, with IDC predicting they'll grow from a 14.6 percent share in 2011 to 17.3 percent in 2016. But collectively, iOS and Android will account for nearly half of the connected devices market.

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