Smartphone shipments will total 472 million in 2011, a 55% jump from the 305 million shipped in 2010, and that’s going to more than double to 982 million by 2015, according to IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Data Tracker.”

The global smartphone market will grow more than 4x faster than the overall mobile phone market in 2011, IDC analysts forecast. Mobile users trading in previous generation feature phones, falling average sales prices, enhanced features and functionality, lower-cost data plans, among other factors, will spur demand among a broader range of consumers.

“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their ‘talk-and-text’ devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

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Consumers are moving up the learning curve when it comes to mobile operating systems and hence becoming more discerning as to their relative pros and cons. That’s only going to spur competition and innovation among mobile OS developers and vendors, added senior research analyst Ramon Llamas.

Smartphones with Google’s Android mobile OS will grow more than 40% in Q211, according to IDC, with a constant annual growth rate of 23.7% from 2011 to 2015. Android surpassed Symbian to become the leading mobile OS worldwide in 2010 Q4. Symbian will steadily lose market share as Nokia transitions to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Though Nokia is committed to the mobile OS until 2016, IDC forecasts that Symbian’s unit CAGR from 2011-2015 will come in at -68.8%.

Nokia won’t be rolling out Windows 7 smartphones in large volumes until 2012, but IDC analysts foresee Windows Phone defending a number 2 rank in terms of market share if the migration goes smoothly, with a 2011-2015 CAGR of 82.3%, by far the highest among all competitors.

After experiencing tremendous growth through 2010, Apple’s iOS ranked third in market share going into 2011. iOS market share will moderate going forward and then decline slightly by the end of 2015, resulting in a 2011-2015 CAGR of 17.9%. BlackBerry will remain a top 4 smartphone mobile OS vendor growing at a unit CAGR of 18.3% from 2011-2015, though its market share will decline even as shipment volumes continue to grow throughout the forecast period, IDC says.

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