1.7 billion smartphones by 2017, Android dominates

According to a new report from market research firm Ovum, Android will have firmly established itself as the dominant mobile OS by 2017. During this time, Ovum thinks that the smartphone market will grow almost 25%, hitting 1.7 billion units by 2017. Those are some pretty big numbers.

Ovum thinks that Android's dominance is inevitable, thanks to its broad support from handset makers and the low costs involved with using it in a device. Since so many devices are being produced for the Android platform, it's just hard for anyone else to compete, especially since Android's numbers are still on the rise.

Ovum predicts that Android will have a 48% market share by 2017, compared to the 27% Apple's iOS should have by then. Adam Leach, Ovum's principal analyst, said that “While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we're now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signaling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers.”

Quite simply, it's just hard for Android's more locked-down competitors to maintain dominance over it, at least when it comes to marketshare. Even Microsoft's approach is shackled and drawn compared to the free-for-all that is Android.

Speaking of Microsoft, where will Windows Phone be by 2017? Ovum thinks that it will have carved out about 13% of the market by then. That's a pretty small number compared to Android, but it could still represent a lucrative niche, if executed correctly.

Perhaps most unbelievably, Ovum thinks that RIM's BlackBerry platform will still be holding on to 10% of the market in 2017. But, if RIM is still alive then, we suppose that anything is possible.

That's all pretty interesting, so long as you remember that it's all speculation. A lot can happen between now and 2017, especially in the tech sector. And even if Android does manage to maintain its dominance over the mobile market, there's still plenty of room for Apple and Microsoft to hold on to a profitable chunk of the market, especially when it comes to premium handsets.

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