The good old days are about to end, and soon. The signs were already there, as consumers shifted their attention to tablets as opposed to smartphones, but the huge growth rates of mobile phones are coming to a certain halt.

In fact, annual smartphone growth is poised to hit single digits as early as 2017.

The good folks over at IDC tried their hands at predicting the future landscape of the mobile industry in their latest report. And while things are changing rapidly, in reality it will be more of the same. Big players will remain big players, though the numbers will change heavily.

Speaking of the figures, while last year saw shipments of more than one billion units, making for a 39 percent growth over 2012, but saturation will come into play starting 2014.

Projected growth rate this year is only 19.3 percent, and by 2018 the market will hit lows of 6.2 percent.

Android will remain the king of hill for the foreseeable future. But somewhat surprisingly, Apple is expected to retain its position as the number two player, even with its declining market share, thanks to its premium prices and exuberant profit margins.

Windows Phone, however, is said to be well equipped for the future. The research firm sees the platform as a strong contender in emerging markets, and as the fastest growing operating system.

BlackBerry, on the other hand, is heading for irrelevancy by 2018 with its market share pretty much disappearing. The company may be trying hard, but the negative tide is too strong to repel.

Ultimately the thing with such futuristic a forecast is that it does not take into account any revolutionary product (or even form facto) that may change the scenarios altogether. It has happened before, and it may happen again, even if we are only taking about the next four years.

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One Comment
  1. This was bout to happen. A lot of smart phone growth has to do with people switching from feature phone to smart phones and the fact that during the PC boom it wasn’t uncommon for the average person not to have a cell phone at all. Everyone has a cell phone now. Most people have one for their kids. For the most part that phone is a cell phone. Of course there was going to be a smart phone boom, just like there was a push for everyone to get a cell. But just like the PC, not that everyone has one, the growth will begin to slow down. It’s odd though that they say WP will remain in 3rd when it wasn’t long ago they said WP might catch iOS and maybe pass it.

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