Smart Phones rule the World. Or at least they do in the world of mobile telecommunications. Smart Phones sales in 2012 outnumbered sales of the alternative Feature phones for the first time . For some observers it’s surprising that it took so long! These days the ability to personalize this most personal of items gives the mobile phone a social and economic significance beyond merely a means of communication. In decades to come the current explosion of social networking sites, together with communications on the move will be seen as a key period of transition from desktop communication to pocket and mobile communication. The picture is however complicated because there remain many areas of the globe which do not have the appropriate levels of infrastructure which are needed to support the data rich services enjoyed by Smart Phone users. In these developing regions the feature phone remains dominant and extremely important aspect of the communications network.
Indeed as is increasingly touted, the mobile phone is now more accurately described as a pocket computer that just happens to have a phone built in. The computing capability of these Smart Phones has increased at such a fast rate that the expectation for a mobile phone to achieve ever more complex and high quality functions has hardly shown signs of slowing. Apps enable personal fine tuning of the device and crate enormous revenues for the app platforms as well as for the developers. Its almost a perfect synergy between manufacturer, developer and consumer need.
With this in mind its not surprise that Smart Phones finally hold the bigger slice of the mobile phone market across the globe. Of all phones purchased throughout 2012, 51.6% were Smart Phones. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly mobile Phone Tracker the total sales for all phones shipped during the first quarter of 2013 has reached 418.6 million phones. So annually just shy of 2 billion mobile phones were shipped in 2012 and a billion of these were Smart Phones.
Amongst the big hitters in the Smart Phone world the competition is fierce as each strives for increased market share. So far this has helped bring us fantastic styling, great features and an increasingly robust range of devices. Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia, Xiaomi to name but a few are already household names in the West and making increasing inroads into the relatively new but rapidly emerging markets in the rest of the world. There’s a long way to go before certain developing nations are able to benefit from the data rich services carried by Smart Phones and until networks are strengthened throughout these economies the Feature phone will retain its place as an important communications tool.