2016 will be the dawn of the post-PC world, according to a report by market research firm IDC.
If IDC’s report holds true the number of Android-based devices running on ARM CPUs will reach a 31.1% market share in 2016, whereas Windows devices on the x86 platform will slip from a current 35.9% to 25.1% market share.
Only modest growth is expected for iOS-based devices, as IDC expects a creep from a 14.6% share in 2011 to 17.3% in 2016.
“Android’s growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices,” said Tom Mainelli, research director of IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices unit. “So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain. Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform’s smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps.”
“Smartphone growth will be driven by Asia/Pacific countries, especially China, where mobile operators are subsidizing the purchase of 3G smartphones, thus increasing the total addressable market. In many if not all instances, the smartphone will be the primary connection to the Internet,” said Will Stofega, program director of IDC’s Mobile Phone Technologies and Trends unit. “In countries where devices are not subsidized by the mobile operators, competitive and component-based pricing will help drive volume.”
For Microsoft these findings are likely to be worrisome, as IDC’s report makes no mention of the Windows-on-ARM ecosystem.