Report: Smartphone market will see smallest growth on record in 2015

Lumia 950
Smartphone shipments will slow to single-digit growth in 2015, driven by sluggish growth in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Western Europe; lowered expectations for Windows Phone shipments; and lowered expectations for smartphones running operating systems not named Android, iOS, or Windows. This marks the first full year of single-digit growth on record.

In 2015, worldwide smartphone shipments will grow 9.8 percent to a total of 1.43 billion units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Of this number, 81.2 percent of shipped smartphones will run Android, 15.8 percent will run iOS, and 2.2 percent will run Windows.

IDC expects iOS to see 17.3 percent year-over-year growth in 2015, while Android is expected to see 9.5 percent growth. Windows is expected to see a 10.2 percent decline in market share this year, while all other mobile operating systems are expected to drop off by 16.8 percent.

China is largely a replacement market now, which explains IDC’s forecast of low single-digit growth there. However, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to see shipments surge nearly 50 percent year-over-year, the highest mark of any region this year.

Maintaining growth in smartphone shipment growth will depend largely on low-cost smartphones in emerging markets. “This, in turn, will depend on capturing value-oriented first-time smartphone buyers as well as replacement buyers,” according to Ryan Reith, program director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “We believe that, in a number of high-growth markets, replacement cycles will be less than the typical two-year rate, mainly because the components that comprise a sub-$100 smartphone simply do not have the ability to survive two years.”

Android is expected to experience a 7.7 percent five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), followed by iOS with 6.5 percent, Windows with 4.5 percent, and all other mobile operating systems with 4.7 percent.

“Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years,” according to IDC’s report. Microsoft’s current struggles in gaining ground are mostly attributed to the lack of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner support.

During the three months ending in October, Google’s Android operating system claimed 52.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, followed by Apple’s iOS with 43.3 percent, Microsoft’s Windows with 2.7 percent, and BlackBerry with 1.0 percent, according to comScore.

Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.