One in three devices sold in five years will be a smartphone, ABI Research says.
Driven in large part by carriers' desire to generate more revenue from data services, smartphones will account for about 31% of the mobile handset market by 2013, according to new figures from ABI Research.
In 2007, smartphones comprised just 10% of the market. And in addition to more mobilized applications and content, skirmishes on the operating system front will also have an impact during the next five years.
"Smart operating systems are continually being optimized to run on processors with lower performance," said Stuart Carlaw, VP of ABI, in a statement. "There is a strategic move to support smart OSes in single chip midrange devices in order to unlock more data revenues."
Carlaw noted that there is growing competition in the smartphone OS market, which h is challenging established players. "The coalescence of the framework wars in the Linux environment and the growing stature of Windows Mobile will enable new competitors to put pressure on this established axis," he said.
The research house also credits the "iPhone effect" for promoting smartphone growth as other handset makers try to mimic or outdo Apple. "Features that look set to proliferate and become central to enhancing user interface experiences include touchscreens, touchpads, and accelerometers facilitating tilt and shock sensing, as well as haptics providing tactile feedback," ABI said. Haptics refers to behaviors associated with human touch.
This predicted growth in smartphones tracks with other forecasts for mobile handset uptake. French consultancy Idate in February forecasted 8.42% annual growth between 2007 and 2011 to 1.43 billion units. In addition, revenue for the same period was expected to jump from $131 billion to as much as $150 billion in 2011, the consultancy said.
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