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Android and Windows Phone creep up on Apple iOS

Two separate analyst reports point to the decline of Apple's popular mobile platform

The future is looking less than rosy for Apple's iOS mobile platform, if new research reports by analyst houses Ovum and IHS iSuppli are to be believed.

Ovum's second annual developer survey, released today, states that Android could replace iOS in terms of importance to developers within the next 12 months, and that momentum is growing behind BlackBerry OS and Microsoft's Windows Phone.

According to Adam Leach, devices and platforms practice leader at Ovum and author of the research, some developers are starting to focus their efforts on web-based standards such as HTML5, which can be used to build cross-platform applications. However most developers are still using vendor-specific distribution channels, such as the Android Market, to deploy applications.

"A smartphone platform's success is dictated not only by the pull of consumers and the push of handset vendors and mobile operators but also by a healthy economy of applications delivered by third-party developers," said Leach.

"Therefore, it is important for all players in the smartphone ecosystem to understand the choices developers are making today and the downstream impact of those choices."

Meanwhile, a separate report published last week by supply chain analysts IHS iSuppli suggests that Microsoft's Windows Phone will overtake Apple's iOS by 2015, driven largely by "strong support" from Nokia.

IHS predicts that Windows Phone will reach 16.7 percent of market share in 2015, behind first-ranked Android at 58.1 percent and just slightly ahead of iOS at 16.6 percent. The analyst said the introduction of the Lumia 900 running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) at CES showed Microsoft's and Nokia's promise in smartphones.

Windows Phone made up only 1.9 percent of the market for all of 2011, according to IHS, with Apple's iOS at 18 percent and Android smartphones by all makers at 47.4 percent.

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