Forecast: Android to fuel 67% of all smartphones shipped in 2017

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Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android will power more than two-thirds of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2017, research firm Canalys forecasts.

Manufacturers across the globe will ship 1.5 billion smartphones in 2017, accounting for 73 percent of all mobile phone shipments, Canalys reports. Smartphones will represent virtually all phones shipped to the North American and Western European markets and also will make up about 95 percent of all shipments to Greater China, the firm adds. Android will fuel more than more than 1 billion smartphone shipments in 2017, corresponding to a 67.1 percent market share, essentially unchanged from 67.7 percent in 2012. Shipments of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone will increase as well, although its market share will slide from 19.5 percent in 2012 to 14.1 percent in 2017.

"Apple's growth will be curtailed by the fact that momentum in the smartphone market is coming from the low end, and Apple is absent from this segment," said Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee. "Android's continued dominance is due to the scalability of the platform."

While Apple's market share will slip, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone is expected to surge from 2.4 percent market share in 2012 to 12.7 percent in 2017. "The scalability of Microsoft's platform will be critical to its success, and it has made progress here by enabling Huawei and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) to deliver Windows Phone products at aggressive price points," Kwee said. "Nokia is the most active vendor in the Microsoft camp, and it continues to make steady progress with its Lumia portfolio. It has had some major carrier wins recently in the two largest markets of China and the U.S., which will help it build momentum in the short term. But longer-term it is the Chinese vendors that are best placed to challenge Samsung's market dominance. Microsoft already has a relationship with Huawei and ZTE in the phone space, and Lenovo is a major partner in the PC space. These partners will be needed to help deliver the scale that Microsoft needs."

Canalys expects BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) to continue hanging on: Although the platform's market share will essentially plateau over the forecast period, from 4.8 percent in 2012 to 4.6 percent in 2013, device shipments are expected to more than double. However, the firm contends that BlackBerry must move to phase out BlackBerry 7 devices and introduce BlackBerry 10 devices across a range of price points. Canalys also urges BlackBerry to focus on reversing its declining U.S. fortunes and focus on growing its presence in China.

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