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Smartphone wars: Are they over, or just ramping up?

smartphone warsRecent predictions from eMarketer seem to have Android winning the smartphone wars easily in the UK. They say in 2014, Android will have 53% of the market, and 54% of the market in 2015. The second largest share goes to iOS at 30.5% and 31.5% respectively. The remaining 16.5% is split between Blackberry and Windows phone (a tiny portion still belongs to Symbian too).

Windows phone is set to take over in third place while Blackberry continues its decline. In fact, the Blackberry user base will drop 35.2% this year, and another 41.7% next year. Meanwhile Windows phone is taking over that user base with a growth rate of 41.8% and 29.9% in 2014 and 2015. Despite its growth though, Windows phone will still only account for 9% of the market in 2015.

That’s a lot of numbers. But the trend looks pretty clear. Android, iOS and Windows phones will continue to gain new users. And almost all of them are Blackberry users, or new users who never owned a smartphone before. So is this the final bell tolling for Blackberry, at least in the UK?

We’ll find out if eMarketer predictions for the smartphone wars are correct in time, but Blackberry certainly isn’t throwing in the towel. There are rumours they plan to release four new phones this year. Each of the phones is aimed at a particular market sector including a low end device, and one more suited to business people that used to rely on Blackberry way back when.

The market is undoubtedly more competitive than ever with so many different models to choose from. We can only guess at what Blackberry might offer to try and bring back users as well as court new ones. It seems rather hopeless, but it was only four years ago that Android started its meteoric rise. At the time, Blackberry devices were holding their own in the market, but they lost momentum when Android entered.

Pretty much anything can happen in technology. If Blackberry can innovate and produce a smartphone that revolutionises like Android did, then maybe they have a chance. But if they don’t, then they will likely slowly go the way of Symbian and disappear.

Oliver Burt

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