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IDC sees Android past Windows by 2016, 1.8b smart devices

updated 06:15 pm EDT, Wed March 28, 2012

IDC sees Windows losing relevance in 4 years

A shift towards the mobile world could see Android overtake Windows for sheer market share, IDC put out in a long-term estimate. Putting mobile and desktop platforms in a single smart device category, it had Windows slipping from 35.9 percent as of 2011 to 25.1 percent in 2016. Android would only slightly move in share, from 29.4 percent to 31.1 percent, but would move enough to claim the top computing platform.

iOS would grow faster than Android over the same period, but it would start from a smaller point and move from 14.6 percent last year to 17.3 percent in 2016.

The total number of smart devices would move from 1.1 billion predicted for this year to just over 1.8 billion four years later.

Most of the growth would come from the developing world. For many in Asia-Pacific, the smartphone would be the primary if not only Internet-aware device they used. Android was growing because prices were coming down on smartphones, IDC said. Apple would mostly take comfort in still having a far stronger app economy, researchers said, as iPad and iPhone users were willing to pay for apps where most Android users skewed towards free titles.

Such long-term predictions often have a large amount of leeway and could vary sharply. They do, however, reflect a trend towards mobile overtaking the traditional PC. In the US, tablets outsold PCs last fall owed mostly to the iPad. They point to Microsoft's insistence that Windows will dictate the future possibly being hollow as it becomes a minority platform.

By Electronista Staff


  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2004



    That is a report not a forecast. Win desktop has been losing relevance for years and will continue to do so. MS has to make it with Win8 mobile or lose even more than the 1/3 shareholder value already lost.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Analysts can only guess

    Re: "Such long-term predictions often have a large amount of leeway and could vary sharply."

    Yup. Analysts look at the past, then at the present, and draw a line along those two points into the future. As though everything will continue exactly as it is right now. A smooth progression.

    The problem with extrapolating current trends is that technological change usually happens in quantum leaps. Huge advances forward. The way the original iPhone brought the entire smartphone market into the 21st century. Analysts never see those quantum leaps coming.

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