Smartphone shipments to reach 1.7 billion in 2017: Ovum

Also expects Android to dominate as OS

Smartphone shipments will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9 per cent reaching 1.7 billion units by 2017, according to Ovum.

The research analyst firm claims Android will be the most dominant operating system over the next five years, with handset vendors rushing to make it their primary smartphone platform.

In its latest projection, Mobile Phone and Smartphone Forecast: 2012–17, it revealed that the global annual mobile phone shipments will increase at a CAGR of 6.3 per cent between 2011 and 2017, predominantly determined by the demand from emerging markets where connection growth will continue to fuel handset shipments.

Ovum said Asia-Pacific will be the largest region, shipping just over 200 million units by 2016.

It added that new shipments in developed markets, such as North America and Western Europe, will be almost entirely made up of smartphones, with feature phones continuing to play a small role in emerging markets in 2017.

“While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signalling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers,” “Ovum principal analyst, Adam Leach, said.

Android smartphones accounted for 44 per cent of the smartphone market in 2011, a significant rise from 17 per cent in 2010.

Its share is estimated to reach 48 per cent in 2017. Android-based smartphones are expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.8 per cent over the forecast period.

Apple's iOS will also grow, accounting for 27 per cent of the smartphone market, up four per cent from its 23 per cent share in 2011.

The Windows Phone platform, with assistance from Nokia, will make up 13 per cent of the smartphone market and despite losing significant market share since its high point in 2009, RIM's BlackBerry platform will represent 10 per cent of the market in 2017.

“Although it will remain behind Android in terms of shipment volumes, Apple will continue to be a key player and innovator in the smartphone market over the forecast period. We expect Microsoft, despite its slow start, to have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017,” Leach added.