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Android's smartphone market share likely to peak this year, says IDC

Phones sold in 2016 will total 2.3 billion

Google's Android will still be the king of smartphone OSes in four years, but its market share will erode as Windows Phone takes off, according to a report from market research company IDC.

By the end of 2012, Android's smartphone market share will be 61 percent, but by 2016 its share will have dropped to 52.9 percent, according to IDC. Also, the continued success of the OS will increasingly depend on Samsung Electronics, IDC said.

During the first quarter, the Korean vendor accounted for about 45 percent of all Android-based smartphone shipments. It was followed by a number of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

Despite a slow start, Microsoft's Windows Phone will be the second most popular smartphone OS in 2016, helped by Nokia's strength in key emerging markets, IDC believes.

Windows Phone's market share will grow from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 19.2 percent in 2016.

However, lately Nokia has struggled not just in the smartphone market, but also with its line-up of feature phones, which is what it currently depends on in emerging markets. For Windows Phone to eventually reach that second spot, according to IDC, the company must maintain its foothold in emerging markets.

On Wednesday, Nokia launched three phones, which it hopes will help the company do that.

Unsurprisingly, IDC sess a bright future for Apple's iPhone. Although a small market share decline is expected -- from 20.5 percent to 19 percent -- IDC expects significant overall shipment volume growth to continue through 2016, it said.

Also, there will continue to be a market for BlackBerry, despite Research In Motion's current woes, according to IDC. It will find a place in emerging markets where users are looking for affordable messaging devices, it said.

The market share of BlackBerry OS market will be 6 percent in 2012 and will still hover there in 2016.

Overall, vendors will ship nearly 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, compared to 1.7 billion units in 2011. By the end of 2016, IDC expects 2.3 billion mobile phones will be sold to the channel, it said.

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