Samsung Sees Strong Smartphone Growth

The cell phone manufacturer sees smartphone sales hitting 500 million in 2012, and it also has high hopes for touch-screen interfaces.

Samsung Rolls Out Multimedia Heavyweights

Samsung's Omnia HD
(click for larger image)
Samsung expects the smartphone market to double in the next three years, and it predicts sales will rise from 170 million units in 2009 to 500 million by 2012.

These predictions mean the smartphone market would rise from 14% of the mobile phone sector to 29% in three years. Once the exclusive domain of mobile professionals, smartphones have increasingly become a mainstream product thanks to devices like Apple's iPhone 3G. Even Research In Motion now has more than 40% of its subscribers using BlackBerrys in noncorporate environments.

Nearly every industry watcher expects the smartphone market to grow despite the economy, but Samsung's prediction is higher than most other forecasts. The company is hoping to capitalize on this growth by bringing out high-end handsets like the Omnia HD, which is powered by Symbian, and has an 8-megapixel camera that can record video in high definition.

Samsung also expects consumers to gravitate toward touch-screen interfaces, and it forecasted that up to half of all portable gadgets will use this input method by 2013. This prediction includes all types of gadgets, including phones, personal media players, GPS navigation units, and other consumer electronics. The iPhone can again be credited with some of the increased popularity of touch screens for smartphones, as can devices like the popular HTC Touch line of smartphones.

The company also expects sales of organic light-emitting diode displays to take off in the near future, and that OLED will be used for about 50% of all mobile phones in five years. This type of display is seen on handsets like the Nokia N85, and it generally offers more vibrant colors than other displays. The trade-off is that OLED displays have a shorter lifespan and cost more than alternatives, Samsung said.

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).

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