BEAN COUNTERS at IDC have looked into their crystal ball and predicted that Android will claim 85 per cent of the smartphone market in 2016, while Apple will see it's slice of the pie shrink.

A market share of 85 per cent would see Google's Android operating system reporting growth of 5.2 per cent year-on-year, which IDC is crediting to low-cost Android devices and an increase in 4G usage in emerging markets.

Look, this is awkward. We know you like your ad blocker, but we know you like INQ. And we need to eat. So please, pretty please, can you add us to your whitelist? We think we’re worth it.

Incisive Media publications, including INQ, are now blocking ad-blockers so that we can afford to continue to bring you the unique mix of hard-hitting, expert journalism with a touch of silliness that you love.

The internet isn’t free. If you don’t whitelist news sites, they’ll die, so go on... just for us...

While Google's mobile OS looks set to have a bumper year with a reported 1.2 billion devices to be shipped, the same unlikely can be said about the company's own hardware.

 Ryan Reith, program vice president at IDC, said: "In North America and Western Europe, Google has been putting a significant amount of marketing dollars behind the new Pixel and Pixel XL, although early supply chain indications are that volumes are not at the point where Samsung or Apple should see a significant impact for Q4."

IDC also notes that, while it's "too early to tell," Google's move into the hardware space could impact its relationship with Android OEMs.
Apple, according to IDC, will ship 206 million iPhones this year, bagging it a 14.3 per cent share of the global smartphone market. However, this marks an 11 per cent decline compared to this time last year, which IDC blames on three year-over-year declines, as well as a projected fourth quarter decline.

Apple is unlikely too fussed about these numbers, though, with a report last week revealing that the firm claimed 91 per cent of smartphone profits in the third quarter of 2016.

What's more, 2017 is looking up for the firm, and IDC is predicting a bumper year ahead, largely thanks to the so-called iPhone 8.

"2017 marks the tenth year of iPhone, so it is hard to believe Apple doesn't have something big up its sleeve," the analyst firm said. "Look for Apple to mix things up with whatever version(s) they bring to market in the coming year to hopefully rebound shipment growth."

If you thought Apple was having a bad 2016, let's turn our attention to Microsoft. IDC predicts that the firm's Windows Phone OS will end the year with just 0.4 per cent of the global market, with Microsoft expected to have shipped a total of 6.1 million devices over the past 12 months.

This struggle is likely to continue, according to IDC: "Rumours of a Surface Phone from Microsoft continue to linger, but the drawn out hurdle of a much needed mobile ecosystem has not gone away," it said.

"Unless Microsoft has a way to get around this, IDC anticipates a tough road ahead for the platform."

IDC's report also reveals that shipments of 4G smartphones look set to reach the one billion milestone for the first time this year.