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Android expected to have 31pc market share by 2016: study

According to new research from International Data Corporation, Android devices will lead the smartphone market by 2016, outpacing the iOS operating system.

In addition to the number of Android devices, IDC?s finding give insight into other mobile platforms will shake out in the coming years. The study also looked at how shipments of connected devices as a whole ? which includes tablets, smartphones and PCS ? is crucial to understanding the hardware device market.

?The hardware device market is very healthy and it is also very diverse,? said Bob O?Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC, Framingham, MA. 

?While smartphones are the largest from a unit perspective, PCs and tablets are still relevant and important,? he said.

IDC is a research company with more than 1,000 analysts who help the IT community make decisions on business strategies and technologies.

Mobile fragmentation
According to the study, the Android operating system will rise from a 29.4 percent share in 2011 to 31.1 percent in 2016.

IOS devices will also grow from 14.6 percent market share in 2011 to 17.3 percent in 2016.

Android will gobble up the smartphone market because of its lower-priced devices. However, application developers will continue to focus on iOS devices because of owners' habits to pay for more high-quality content.

Although Android might be top dog when it comes to smartphone market share, the operating system is still heavily fragmented and finding a way for developers to reach multiple handsets will continue to be an issue.

With both Google and Apple?s smartphone market expected to grow, it means that other platforms including Windows Phone 7 and Research in Motion will decrease in market share. This shows how operating systems besides iOS and Android will struggle to keep up unless they can offer a product that is different and more valued by consumers.

Smartphone ownership will see a particular growth in Asia and Pacific countries with operators lowering the costs of 3G devices.

Cloud connections
Additionally, connected device shipments, which the report classifies as tablets, smartphones and PCS, raked in more than 916 million units shipments in 2011.

In 2012, 1.1. billion connected devices are predicted to be shipped, per IDC.

A whopping 1.84 billion connected device units are expected to ship in 2016. 

Connected devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.4 percent between 2011 and 2016.

The research points to the growing need for consumers to own multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.

In order to keep up with the multiple devices that consumers use, cloud computing will become more prevalent as a way to let users store data in multiple places.

?Smartphones are the largest from a unit shipment perspective and tablets are the smallest, but PCs have the biggest impact on device shipment revenues because of higher average selling prices,? Mr. O?Donnell said.

?Reaching this kind of growth implies that many people will have multiple devices,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York