Windows Phone handsets will reach 45 million in 2013

Telecom Lead America: ABI Research forecasts that 45 million Windows Phone handsets will be in use in 2013.

ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said 2013 should be seen as relative success for both Microsoft and BlackBerry. For the end of the year, there will be 45 million Windows Phone handsets in use, with BlackBerry 10 holding an installed base of close to 20 million. Microsoft will have 5.5 million Windows-powered tablets.

According to ABI Research, the global installed base of smartphones will total 1.4 billion by the end of 2013. 57 percent will run on Android and 21 percent on iOS.

Meanwhile, there will be 268 million tablets in active use, with 62 percent of them built on iOS and 28 percent on Android. The annual growth rate against 2012 will be 44 percent for smartphones and 125 percent for tablets.

Despite of Apple’s and Google’s strong hold of the market, ABI Research anticipates that the future won’t be quite as duopolistic as it may seem now.

“The greatest fear for both Microsoft and BlackBerry is that the initial sales of their smartphones will disappoint and thereby kill off the developer interest, which then would effectively close the window of opportunity on further sales success. Our view is that the installed bases of this scale would be large enough to keep these two in the game. It will definitely also help that both firms have actively kept the developers’ interest in mind while designing and rolling out their platforms,” said Markkanen.

Analysys Mason says the BlackBerry X10 and Q10 retail price will be too high for new smartphone users. X10 and Q10 are designed to capture existing smartphone users, not new ones.

The BlackBerry X10 and Q10 have all the ingredients to become successful smartphone models. However, good technology and design is only the first step, according to Analysys Mason Principal Analyst Ronan de Renesse and Research Analyst Patrick Rusby.

RIM’s future will require winning favor with both consumers and enterprise decision makers.

“BlackBerry needs strong backing from IT administrators. But it also needs enough consumers and more specifically, employees to choose BB10 over Android, Apple, and Windows smartphones. The BYOD trend is having a big influence on enterprise mobilization strategies,” said ABI Research enterprise practice director Dan Shey.

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