Windows Phone will swing past iOS in the smartphone market share by 2016 to become the second-most-used mobile operating system, a telecom analytics firm predicts.
The report by the International Data Corp. says Windows Phone growth will begin picking up, despite a slow start, as a result of Nokia's strength in emerging markets.
That growth should bring Windows Phone 19.2% of the market by 2016, which would place it above Apple's iOS, which IDC expects will suffer a slight drop in market share and land at 19%.
“Growth will moderate over the five-year forecast, given the large installed base Apple has accumulated, which means more of its addressable market will be on replacement cycles," the report says. "Emerging market growth is of utmost importance if iOS is to gain share.”
While a shift for the No. 2 spot is expected, IDC predicts Android will hold on to the top spot in the smartphone market. But it does believe Android's market share will peak this year. The IDC report expects Android's hold on the market to fall from 61% this year to 52.9% in 2016.
Not to be forgotten, BlackBerry OS was also included in the report, and it's market share is expected to slip by 2016, although only from 6% to 5.9%. The report said there will continue to be a market for Research in Motion's smartphone operating system.
"This is true in emerging markets, for example, where users are looking for affordable messaging devices," the report said.
In total phones, the report predicts 1.8 billion phones will be shipped this year, representing growth of about 4% -- the lowest since 2009. IDC attributes the slow growth to feature phone owners holding on to their phones due to the economy.
But shipments of smartphones should see a 38.8% increase this year, the report says. And in 2016, the report predicts, 2.3 billion phones will be shipped.