What sort of phone will you be using in 2016? We’re hoping for a handset with 3D printing, teleport check-ins, and the ability to not change the spelling of ‘me’ to ‘mr’. Well, we can hope. Analyst firm Ovum thinks different though: it’s more focused on the respective fortunes of Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

The company’s latest report reckons that the number of smartphones being shipped every year will have doubled by 2016 to 653 million. What’s more, it thinks Android will account for 38% of those: – a cool 248 million. Count ’em! Actually, no, don’t.

Ovum thinks Apple will take a 17.5% share of the smartphone market, selling 114 million iPhones in 2016, with Windows Phone in third place (17.2%) and BlackBerry in fourth (16.5%).

“We expect at least one other platform to achieve mainstream success within the forecast period,” says principal analyst Adam Leach. “This could be an existing player in the market such as Bada, WebOS, or MeeGo, or it could be a new entrant to the market place.”

Nobody – not even hotshot market analysts – knows what sort of shape the mobile phone industry will really be in come 2016, other than the disappointing lack of teleportation obviously. But if Ovum is right, we’re looking at a five-horse smart phone market, in contrast to the comments made recently by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who said his company’s deal with Microsoft made it a “three-horse race”.

Five big, established smartphone operating systems should be good news for phone buyers, as the companies behind those OS’ continue to strive to out-innovate one another. Leach draws particular attention to the potential and risks of the Nokia/Microsoft Windows Phone partnership.

“For Microsoft the deal provides a committed handset partner that has the potential to make Windows Phone a mainstream smartphone platform. The risk to Microsoft is that other handset makers may choose not to compete with Nokia and may turn their backs on Windows Phone.”


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