Research company Gartner released its latest smartphone forecasts on Thursday.
Gartner predicts that worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57% increase from 2010. Android is expected to further hold its lead and account for 49% market share by 2012. Microsoft’s Windows Phone is expected to increase to 10.8% by 2012, up from 4.2% in 2010.
The surprise figure from Gartner is the revelation that it too predicts Microsoft will cement a strong second place market share by 2015. IDC previously predicted that Windows Phone will account for over 20% market share in 2015, above Apple’s estimated 15%. Gartner’s figures follow a similar approach. Gartner says Microsoft’s Windows Phone will account for 19.5% market share by 2015, above Apple’s 17.2%. Windows Phone will also account for 215 million worldwide shipments by 2015.
The research firm’s estimates are based solely on Microsoft’s Nokia partnership. “Gartner predicts that Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013,” says the firm. “Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia.”
The predictions mirror IDC’s early estimates, revealed in late March. Nokia said recently that it plans to ship Windows Phone branded devices to developers when they are available later this year. Nokia is currently engineering Windows Phone devices and is expected to wait for “Mango”, the next version of Windows Phone, until it unveils them later this year. “Mango”, the codename for what will likely be named Windows Phone 7.5, is currently in the early beta stages at Microsoft. The software giant revealed a number of new features in February that will ship as part of its Windows Phone point release later this year. Nokia is reportedly waiting for multitasking, IE9 mobile and others before it releases its first Windows Phone device.