The last few years have not been kind to BlackBerry, as the pace of change and development in the industry has left it far behind its rivals. Even the company's latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, has not reversed its fortunes - although this is not entirely surprising, given that its own CEO, John Chen, admitted that BB10 is less than intuitive, and that potential customers may be put off by its steep learning curve.
It seems that there may be even worse to come, as industry analysts IDC today released some very gloomy projections for the Canadian company. As Bloomberg reports, IDC believes that BlackBerry's worldwide smartphone shipments will plummet by more than 50% this year, and that it will end 2014 with just 0.8% of the global market, down from 1.9% last year. That slide may well be irreversible, as the research firm forecasts that BlackBerry's market share will fall further to just 0.3% by 2018.
By contrast, Android is predicted to finish this year with a staggering 80.2% share, thanks to an impressive showing at both the upper and lower ends of the market. Premium devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 are selling in huge numbers, while ever more capable flagships are being launched, such as LG's new G3. Handsets like the Moto E are also bringing smartphone user experiences to ever-lower price points, as manufacturers try to encourage feature phone users to upgrade to new Android devices. Even so, IDC predicts that Android's share will dip slightly to 77.6% in 2018.
Apple's market share is also forecast to decrease slightly by then, from an estimated 14.8% this year to 13.7% in 2018. But Windows Phone is expected to grow considerably over the next few years. By 2018, Microsoft's mobile OS is projected to grow to 6.4% worldwide, up from an estimated 3.5% share at the end of 2014.
Microsoft has succeeded in signing up a large number of new hardware partners for Windows Phone this year, including Lenovo, LG, XOLO and ZTE back in February and, more recently, Blu and K-Touch. Much of Windows Phone's growth is expected towards the lower end of the market, thanks to more affordable handsets like Microsoft's own Lumia 630.
Source: IDC/Bloomberg | top image via BlackBerry; centre image via Motorola; bottom image via Nokia