Android to eclipse Windows for smart connected devices by 2016

The latest IDC report suggests that Android will surpass Windows as the dominant operating system for all smart connected devices (which includes PCs, media tablets and smartphones) by 2016. Combined shipments of this class of devices reached 916 million units in 2011 and is expected to climb to 1.84 billion units by 2016.

“Whether it’s consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust ‘app’ ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school’s computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual’s life,” said Bob O’Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays at IDC.

Smart Connected Devices by 2016
Credit: IDC

IDC expects a “dramatic shift” to take place between 2011 and 2016 with the combination of Android and ARM-based chipsets taking over from Windows and Intel as the dominant platform. The former is expected to slide from a 35.9% market share in 2011 down to 25.1% in 2016 while the latter will climb from 29.4% to 31.1%. Apple’s iOS is also expected to grow from 14.6% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2016.

It’s not all good news for Android though. IDC attributes Android’s growth to “propagation of lower-priced devices” and warns that hardware vendors will find profitability to be challenging.

IDC makes no mention of Windows Phone or BlackBerry. Are they to become no more than niche players?

Read more: IDC