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Android to beat iOS and Windows Phone to beat BlackBerry says Ovum

Analyst firm Ovum thinks Android will be top dog for smart phones in 2016, way ahead of Apple's iOS, with Windows Phone overtaking BlackBerry behind that.

What sort of phone will you be using in 2016? We're hoping for a handset with 3D printing, teleport check-ins, and the ability to not change the spelling of 'me' to 'mr'. Well, we can but hope. Analyst firm Ovum thinks different though: it's more focused on the respective fortunes of Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

The company's latest report reckons the number of smart phones being shipped every year will have doubled by 2016 to 653 million. What's more, it predicts Android will account for 38 per cent of those: a cool 248 million. Count 'em! Actually, no, don't.

Ovum's tea leaves say Apple will take a 17.5 per cent share of the smart phone market, selling 114 million iPhones in 2016, with Windows Phone in third place (17.2 per cent) and BlackBerry in fourth (16.5 per cent).

"We expect at least one other platform to achieve mainstream success within the forecast period," says principal analyst Adam Leach. "This could be an existing player in the market such as Bada, webOS, or MeeGo, or it could be a new entrant to the market place."

Nobody -- not even hotshot market analysts -- knows what sort of shape the mobile phone industry will really be in come 2016, other than the disappointing lack of teleportation, obviously. But if Ovum is right, we're looking at a five-horse smart phone market, in contrast to the comments made recently by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who said his company's deal with Microsoft made it a "three-horse race".

Five big, established smart phone operating systems should be good news for phone buyers, as the companies behind those OS' continue to strive to out-innovate one another. Leach draws particular attention to the potential and risks of the Nokia/Microsoft Windows Phone partnership.

"For Microsoft the deal provides a committed handset partner that has the potential to make Windows Phone a mainstream smartphone platform. The risk to Microsoft is that other handset makers may choose not to compete with Nokia and may turn their backs on Windows Phone."

What features do you expect smart phones to be sporting by 2016? Will Google really sell nearly four in every 10 smart phones by then? Get your Mystic Meg wig on and post a comment with your predictions.