Analysts from IDC have updated their smartphone shipment forecast and now believe that 472 million smartphones will ship in 2011 and 982 million in 2015. In 2015, 43.8% of all smartphones are expected to be Android devices, translating to 1.1 million activated devices every day, up from about 300,000 today.

IDC repeats its conviction that Windows Phone 7 will be capturing the No. 2 spot by 2016 and hold about 20.3% of the market. This forecast rests on the hope that Nokia (NYSE: NOK) will drive Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) operating system much deeper into the market. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS follows with a share of 16.9% in 2015, which means that Apple could be selling about 166 million iPhones that year. If Apple can maintain its profit margin, the device could turn into a $40 billion business for Apple.

BlackBerry takes the No. 4 spot in the ranking with a 13.4% share. There is no mention of Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ) WebOS, which will not play any significant role in 2011 or in 2015, according to IDC.

However, the IDC estimates could be questioned from various angles. The overall growth forecast is based on falling data-plan prices, which isn't really happening today. Flat rates are being canceled, and we are seeing both AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) increasing the prices of data access. We have no idea yet how the Windows Phone 7 transition at Nokia will work and how the market will accept those devices.

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