Market research IDC forecasts there will be around 269.6 million smartphones shipped globally in 2010, a 55.4 percent increase on 2009's figure of 173.5 million devices.
The worldwide smartphone market has blossomed over the last 12 months, and the demand for all-in-one converged mobile devices in 2010 has been much higher than originally expected said IDC on September 7.
"The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Demand for ultra-capable converged devices is expected to continue growing as consumers get their hands on the latest "hot" devices such as the BlackBerry Torch, EVO 4G and iPhone 4 in the latter half of 2010.
"Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations," said Restivo.
The top five smartphone operating systems will continue to vie for increased market share over the next four years said IDC.
"Longtime operating systems leaders BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile are about to or have already launched refreshed operating systems to compete with recent newcomers Android and iOS," explained Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team.
Nokia's Symbian OS is expected to remain at the top of the smartphone food chain in 2014 with 32.9 percent of the market share (an 18 percent drop from its current 40.1 percent) however all eyes will be on Google's Android operating software as it grows to reach 24.6 percent of the market with expected gains of more than 51 percent from its 2010 market share of just 16.3 percent.
IDC predicts RIM's BlackBerry OS will drop by 3.5 percent to a market share of 17.3 percent in 2014, Apple's iOS will see a decrease of 25.8 percent to 10.9 percent of the market, and Windows Mobile will increase its market share by 43.3 percent to 9.8 percent by 2014.