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Windows Phone to Grow Faster Than Android, iOS Through 2018

While Samsung's new Galaxy S5 and Apple's iPhone 5s continue to compete for America's hearts and wallets, the market's number three operating system has not thrown in the towel. A new smartphone shipment forecast by IDC indicates Windows Phone will grow the fastest among leading operating systems. Android is expected to retain its lead as the most popular OS, while iOS comes in second. 

Windows Phone has faced significant difficulty gaining traction in the smartphone market, but IDC believes the OS has potential for speedy growth. That's at least in part thanks to continued support from Nokia and the addition of nine new Windows Phone partners, mostly from emerging markets. Since smartphone shipment growth is projected to decline in mature markets such as North America, Europe and Japan, targeting new markets gives Windows Phone a fighting chance.

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Along with the anticipated dip in smartphone shipment volumes, IDC also expects the average selling price of handsets to fall from $335 in 2013 to $260 in 2018. According to the estimates, the average iPhone will cost $610 in 2018 (down from a projected $649 in 2014), Android phones will cost $202 (2014: $247) and Windows phones will cost just $195 (2014: $265). Apple, unsurprisingly, is expected to retain a premium price for its popular devices, leaving room for Android and Windows phones to battle it out in emerging markets with more attainable price points.