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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Smartphones to Pass Feature Phones, Report Says

This may be the year of the smartphone.

The International Data Corporation, a market research firm, said in a report released Tuesday that the number of smartphones sold in the world will surpass unit sales of more basic feature phones by the end of 2013.

The report predicts that shipments of smartphones will be 32.7 percent higher this year than last year, reaching 958.8 million units. This is up from 722.5 million units shipped globally in 2012.

“With the rise in global smartphone shipments, demand has quickly spread from developed markets to emerging markets,” the report said.

One factor contributing to the growth of smartphone sales is the decline in price of the devices.  In 2011, the average price of a smartphone was $443. By 2012 that figure had dropped to $407 and in 2013 it has declined even further to $372 per phone. The cost of a smartphone is expected to dip to $309 by 2017.

This comes on the heels of the continuing fall in the personal computer market. As Asymco, a research company that follows the computing industry, noted on Monday, ”Windows has now reached 60 percent market share and it’s likely to dip below 50 percent during this year.” Smartphones and tablets running Google Android and Apple iOS continue to take the place of PCs.

At the Google I/O technology conference held last month, Google said its mobile operating system was installed on 900 million devices, including smartphones and tablets. This is up from 400 million in 2012.

Ramon Llamas, research manager for the International Data Corporation’s mobile phones program, said the latest numbers represented a ”watershed year for smartphones.”