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Smartphone Sales To Top 1 Billion This Year

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - After posting meager gains in 2012, mobile phone sales are expected to increase more than 7% in 2013. Those numbers are being boosted by an explosion of global smartphone sales expected to top 1 billion units for the first time.

Looking forward to 2017, Google (GOOG) Android phones will continue to dominate worldwide smartphone sales but to a slightly lesser extent. Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Phones are predicted to make the largest gains.

Google shares were gaining 0.79% to $878.50 and Microsoft shares were up 0.30% to $31.29 in early Thursday trading.

In the latest forecast from IDC, the overall cellular phone market is growing faster-than-expected due to very strong sales in Asia, Africa and South America as well as the growing number of sub-$200 smartphones. IDC revised its global estimate for this year from 5.8% to 7.3%.

Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to rise a whopping 40% year-over-year and reach the 1 billion unit mark, double the number of smartphones shipped just two years ago. By 2017, IDC estimates smartphone shipments will reach 1.7 billion units and should command most of the cellular phones sales in "the world's most developed economies". Emerging markets such as China will dominate overall smartphone shipment by volume while lower cost "featurephones" will continue to sell well in those markets.

In 2017, Android-based smartphones will continue to garner the top spot in global market share could fall from its current estimated share of 75.3% this year to a 68.3% market share in four years.

At the same time, Apple (AAPL) iOS-based phone will see a slight increase global market share rising from 16.9% in 2013 to 17.9% in 2017.

But the largest increase is expected to come from Microsoft Windows Phones. IDC believes global market share for Windows Phones will jump from an estimated 3.9% this year to 10.2% in 2017. IDC believes the acquisition of Nokia (NOK) will help Microsoft attain that goal. Microsoft recently predicted it would be able to increase Windows Phone market share to 16% by 2016.

BlackBerry (BBRY) is forecast to continue its slow decline in the marketplace. Blackberry's global market share is expected to fall from 2.7% in 2013 to only 1.9% four years from now as demand dwindles in the currently strong Blackberry markets of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

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