ABI: 20M people will own BlackBerry 10 phones by end of 2013
Although Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS remain the dominant forces driving worldwide smartphone sales, both Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone are set to make inroads by the end of 2013, according to a new ABI Research forecast.
The global installed base of smartphones will total 1.4 billion by the end of this year, up 44 percent over 2012, ABI Research says. Android will power 57 percent of the market (translating to 798 million handsets), followed by iOS at 21 percent (294 million devices). But the firm believes the future will not be as duopolistic at it seems at this moment, projecting Windows Phone 8 will capture 3.2 percent of the market by year's end, followed by BlackBerry 10 (officially unveiled earlier this week) at 1.4 percent.
"2013 should be seen as relative success for both Microsoft and BlackBerry," said ABI Senior Analyst Aapo Markkanen. "For the end of the year, we expect there to be 45 million Windows Phone handsets in use, with BlackBerry 10 holding an installed base of close to 20 million… Our view is that the installed bases of this scale would be large enough to keep these two in the game. It will definitely also help that both firms have actively kept the developers' interest in mind while designing and rolling out their platforms."
ABI Research acknowledges that both Windows Phone and BlackBerry must also attract consumer interest to remain competitive. "The greatest fear for both Microsoft and BlackBerry is that the initial sales of their smartphones will disappoint and thereby kill off the developer interest, which then would effectively close the window of opportunity on further sales success," Markkanen said.
Looking beyond smartphones, ABI believes there will be 268 million tablets in active use by the end of 2013, up 125 percent year-over-year. Apple's iPad will control 62 percent of the market, followed by Android at 28 percent.
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