Smartphone Users To Quadruple Over Next Five Years

Parks Associates Reports Global Smartphone Unit Sales Will Exceed 800 Million in 2015

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International research firm Parks Associates forecasts over 2 billion people worldwide will own at least one smartphone in 2015, with unit sales growing over 175% from 2010.

Hardware and software innovations, such as dual-facing camera-supported video chat and app-enabled content consumption, will continue to drive this market through the down economy. The firm's latest report Smartphone: King of Convergence (Second Edition) says smartphone shipments jumped 70% in 2010, with approximately 500 million users.

"Smartphones represent a new lifestyle," said Harry Wang, Director, Mobile Research, Parks Associates. "Consumer desire for that lifestyle has accelerated the traditional mobile phone replacement cycle and will drive near-term hypergrowth of the smartphone market."

The most successful manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung, and Apple, were also the most innovative. Companies slow to innovate, including Nokia and RIM, have suffered declining market share. According to the report, RIM's smartphone market share declined from 19.8% in 2009 to 16.5% in 2010, while Apple's share of the smartphone market grew from 13.9% to 15.8% in 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, Parks Associates. "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 (WAC), a carrier-initiated, cross-platform mobile app distribution effort, to keep carriers in the game."

CONNECTIONS™, hosted by Parks Associates on June 28-30 in Santa Clara, will feature multiple sessions analyzing the markets for smartphones and mobile apps, services, and devices. The research firm is also hosting the pre-show workshop "Mobile Technology in the Home: Monetizing Connectivity and Content" on June 28.

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