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Smartphones Close in on Cell Majority, Study Says

25 Aug, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

By 2015 a majority of cell phones shipped worldwide will be of the smartphone variety, according to new research from IHS iSuppli.

Thanks to lower hardware prices and cheaper service plans, global smartphone shipments could hit 1.03 billion units in 2015, more than double the estimated 478 million in 2011, the research firm estimates. That would be nearly 55% of the worldwide cell phone market, a remarkable figure, considering smartphones accounted for only 15.8% of the market in 2009.

“With their affordable prices, low-end smartphones are attractive to first-time users and to consumers in emerging economies where subscriber levels are rising at the fastest rates of all regions of the world, such as China, India, South Asia and Africa,” said Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst of wireless communications for IHS. “Low-end smartphones often are sold with inexpensive tiered data plans that target consumers who do not yet need full-featured services. This further reduces these phones’ total cost of ownership.”

Sales of smartphones with limited features and less memory capacity already have helped to drive sales, Sideco said, and the diversity of smartphone companies in the market also is helping.

“Success in the mobile phone industry is no longer purely a function of hardware capabilities,” Sideco said. “Growth for all players is being determined by a number of other important factors, such as software capabilities, the sleekness and intuitiveness of the user interface, and the availability of a variety of applications.”


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