Smartphone Users Expected to Quadruple by 2015

According to international market research firm Parks Associates, more than 2 billion people worldwide will own at least one smartphone in 2015, with sales growing over 175% from last year.


Hardware and software innovations, such as dual-facing camera-supported video chat and app-enabled content consumption, will continue to drive growth through the down economy.  Parks Associates' latest report says smartphone shipments jumped 70% in 2010, with approximately 500 million users.  "Smartphones represent a new lifestyle," said Harry Wang, Director, Mobile Research for Parks Associates.  "Consumer desire for that lifestyle has accelerated the traditional mobile phone replacement cycle and will drive near-term hyper growth of the smartphone market."


The most successful manufacturers, including Apple, HTC and Samsung, were the most innovative.  Companies that were slow to innovate, including Nokia and RIM, have suffered declining market shares.  According to the report, RIM's smartphone market share declined from 19.8% in 2009 to 16.5% in 2010, while Apple's share grew from 13.9% to 15.8% over the same period.


The market for non-device revenues is changing as well, due to innovative new applications being developed and sold throughout the value chain.  "The old mobile ecosystem is broken, and the new order has yet to be established," said Jennifer Kent, Research Analyst.  "Carriers must become the leaders or risk ceding revenue streams to emerging competitors in the mobile broadband content and application market.  However, the fragmentation of the application market may drive enough developers to Wholesale Applications Community, a carrier-initiated, cross-platform mobile app distribution effort, to keep carriers in the game".


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