Smartphones will nab about 20% of the mobile phone market by 2013 despite the struggling economy, according to a report released Tuesday from In-Stat.
The report, titled "Smartphones: Heading to the Mainstream," said smartphones will see growth this year even though the cell phone market is looking at a rare downturn for 2009. The report found that nearly 33% of those surveyed planned to buy a smartphone when they upgrade their current phone.
"Strong demand is being driven by device manufacturers leveraging open OS device to reinvent the mobile phone experience," said Frank Dickson, VP of In-Stat's mobile Internet group, in a statement. "New and prospective smartphone buyers are drawn to new mobile applications, even though the median number of applications downloaded for all platforms, including the Apple iPhone, is relatively modest -- below five applications per user for each platform."
The importance of mobile applications has not gone unnoticed by the major smartphone makers, as the success of Apple's App Store has brought this to the forefront. By the end of the year, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Nokia, Research In Motion, and Samsung will have over-the-air virtual stores for distributing apps. Nokia is trying to differentiate itself from the competition by integrating location and social-networking elements into its app store.
The report also found that Linux OS will see the highest growth in the next few years, and it will eventually have the second-highest volume behind Symbian. Most of this growth will come from Android, which is expected to appear on multiple handsets this year from the likes of Garmin-Asus, HTC, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.
Part of the growth in the smartphone market will be for enterprise use, and this can quickly bring up multiple questions about security and mobility policies. InformationWeek analyzed how businesses can lock down data when it's on the move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).