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TrendForce:Global Smartphone Market to Grow 24.3% in 2013; OS Battle Heats Up

12 December 2012 Semiconductors

As a recent smartphone study from global market research firm TrendForce indicates, entry to mid-level smartphones are gaining popularity as component cost decreases and 3G and LTE networks are becoming more widespread. In 2013, global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 876 million units, a 24.3% increase – more than 30% of which will be shipments of Chinese smartphone brands. The top five global leaders in the smartphone industry are Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, HTC, and Nokia; Samsung and Apple alone account for 45% of global shipments. Chinese brands Huawei, Coolpad, and ZTE have made it into the top ten, pushing out RIM. TrendForce indicates smartphone industry growth is slowing, as next year’s forecast is well below the over 50% growth that has been shown by smartphones in the past few years. As such, makers are looking for ways to increase profits. In addition to improving hardware specifications and developing LTE smartphones, software and cloud applications will prove an important area to master if manufacturers want a leg up on the competition.

OS Battle: Android Growth Surges, iOS Steady, Microsoft Gaining Ground

Hardware remains important in the smartphone war, but software and cloud apps are the new key to success. With the arrival of the Windows 8 mobile platform in 2012, the OS battle is sure to heat up next year.

The flexibility of Google’s Android platform allows manufacturers to get creative with software and hardware integration, resulting in more product differentiation. According to a smartphone operating system market share survey conducted by TrendForce, benefitting from the rise of entry and mid-range smartphones, Android market share is expected to see 70% growth in 2012, up from 50% in 2011. For 2013, it is predicted that Android will have an immense market advantage and will be very difficult to beat.

Apple, under the guidance of Tim Cook, has seen roughly the same market share in 2013 as in the previous year – around 18%. New Apple products continue to stir up the market, but their power of attraction seems to be waning slightly. As for Microsoft, its recently released Windows 8 platform already has takers. In addition to long-time strategic partner Nokia, Samsung and HTC have also chosen the Windows 8 OS for new products released in late 2012. As more manufacturers choose Microsoft’s new platform, market share is forecast to increase to 8.7% in 2013. 

TrendForce believes if the Windows 8 OS is able to take at least 10% of the market, Microsoft’s position on the smartphone market will be solidified. In 2013, the software giant may adopt its tablet strategy for the smartphone market and introduce its own devices, making the most of its new platform by calling the shots on the hardware specs.


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