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The battle between smartphone operating systems, propelled by a slew of new devices released by manufacturers, will heat up the market dominated by Google’s Android.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) Indonesia projected that Android would remain atop of the market with the Windows system gathering momentum.
“We expect Android to [have] around 55 percent of the market share in terms of phone shipments in 2013,” said IDC Indonesia head of operations Sudev Bangah recently.
Bangah added that the market share of Windows could rise to above 8 percent as more smartphone manufacturers embrace Windows 8, the latest version of the operating system.
Last year, Android dominated the operating system market with a share of 56 percent. Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry trailed behind with a 37 percent share, followed by Windows with a 2 percent share, according to the IDC.
Sales of smartphones in Indonesia are estimated to soar as the country’s economy is forecast to grow by more than 6 percent this year and in the coming years, among the highest in the world.
Bangah said that out of the 60 million mobile phones shipped in 2012, 13 percent were smartphones.
“This percentage will go up by three points to 16 percent in 2013, and by 2014 smartphone shipments will reach 22 percent,” he said.
The top five brands in the market, in no particular order, are Nokia, Samsung, RIM, Mito and Cross, according to the IDC.
The IDC did not share data on each brand’s market share.
As for the strategy in expanding the market this year, analysts have pointed out that pricing will remain the greatest asset in conquering the Indonesian smartphone market.
Indonesian mobile phone consumers, dominated by the middle class, gravitate toward affordable smartphones.
Android smartphones, which are priced as low as US$100, partly owe their success to this market characteristic.
Windows is also replicating the strategy. The availability of Nokia smartphones, which are available in a range of prices, may assist the operating system overtaking of Android.
Nokia Lumia phones start at approximately Rp 2 million (US$208) and roughly Rp 5 million for the Windows 8 version.
Globally, HTC and Samsung — through the 8X and Ativ S respectively — have also placed their bets on the Windows platform as well.
“We will start to see the impact of Windows 8 at the end of the first quarter of 2013,” Bangah said.
Nokia released two Windows 8 phones, the Lumia 820 and 920, to the Indonesian market in December.
Martin Chirotarrab, the president director of Nokia Indonesia, said that the company expected 2013 to be an “exciting year for Nokia”.
“Demand for smartphones keeps growing in Indonesia and we have a great portfolio of devices and services for every segment,” Chirotarrab said.
While Windows outlook is upbeat, RIM’s BlackBerry system prospects is not.
RIM, according to Bangah, would see “limited success” in significantly driving up the BlackBerry market share through the initial launch of smartphones running on Blackberry 10, given that the devices is going to be in the upper price range.
“Only the middle and middle-upper [social] bracket could only afford the phone,” Bangah said, adding that the launch of BlackBerry 10 would simply serve to reinvigorate the brand.
RIM previously announced that they would launch the much-anticipated Blackberry 10 platform in the first quarter of 2013.
Hastings Singh, vice president and managing director of RIM Southeast Asia, said that the company would eventually introduce multiple models carrying the latest platform.
“The new devices will have improved BlackBerry Messenger [BBM] capabilities,” he said.
He added that having end-to-end control, from hardware to software, would continue to cushion the company against competition in the smartphone market.
“By offering better value and more innovation we are confident that BlackBerry will be successful next year,” he said.
The device price tag would similarly constrain the market share of Apple’s iPhone operating system iOS. It is expected to secure a 3 percent market share in 2013, according to the IDC.
“The iPhone is limited to the middle and middle-upper class selection of devices. Many Indonesians define their lifestyle by having an iPhone and iPad,” said Bangah.