Android will remain most popular mobile platform through 2016, IDC says

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The debate between Android fans and iOS lovers about which mobile operating is superior will always be a heated one among techies, but the International Data Corporation (IDC) appears to have made its decision. According to the IDC, Android will remain the top mobile software in the United States through 2016.

While the future may be looking bright for Android, the entire mobile market has taken a slight downturn. The IDC’s report indicated that this year’s global phone market has been projected to only grow by 1.4 percent year-over-year. This is the lowest annual growth rate in three years, the IDC says.

“Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year,” Kevin Restivo, one of IDC’s research analysts, said in the report. “However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

Android, however, is likely to thrive due to large selection of devices from a wide range of partners. Samsung is the leading Android smartphone manufacturer, but competing vendors LG and Sony are “not to be overlooked,” the IDC says. Both of these companies cracked the top five when it comes to top Android device makers.

Apple’s iOS operating system is expected to maintain its second place spot, but will continue to ship lower volumes than Android until Apple considers lowering its price points, the report said.

“In order to maintain current growth rates, Apple will need to examine the possibility of offering less expensive models, similar to its iPod line,” the IDC wrote.

Android has claimed a whopping 68.3 percent of the mobile market share for 2012, while Apple clear in second accounting for 18.8 percent of the market. Other platforms, such as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone didn’t claim much of the market, each measuring at 4.7 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

However, Microsoft’s mobile platform is expected to make a stunning jump over the next four years. In 2016, Windows Phone is expected to account for 11.4 percent of the mobile market. This is a 71.3 percent increase for Windows Phone – the largest projected growth of any other mobile software on the market.