Mobile Technology

Smartphones outsell features phones for the first time

3rd May 2013

The mobile industry has been on a huge upswing since the original iPhone was released, but as much as smartphones may feel like they are everywhere these days, they have actually always been in the minority. A combination of price, complication and a lack of even spread across developing countries has meant that despite massive sales, smartphones still lagged behind feature phones.

That, however, seems to have changed with Q1 of 2013.

IDC have just released their Q1 mobile device shipments numbers and for the first time ever, smartphones now outnumber their simpler feature or ‘dumbphone’ cousins. The global phone market consists of 418.6 million devices and now 216.2 million of them were smartphones. For those who don’t like maths, that’s 51.6% of the global market now being a smartphone.

Good news for any company wanting to develop an app.

It means that smartphones are now the official leader in mobile technology and there will be more and more opportunities for companies developing apps, especially moving in the developing markets of India, Oceana and, of course China.

IDC’s numbers also show up something that we’ve sort of known already, but to see it in black and white really lets the numbers hit home.

Namely, Samsung are the undisputed juggernauts of the mobile manufacturing industry when it comes to number of handsets shipped. In Q1 alone Samsung shifted 71 million phones, which is than a quarter of the entire mobile market’s numbers (32%). The closest competitor is, predictably, Apple, but they only shipped 37 million handsets in the same quarter, just over half the number Samsung moved. The rest of the named market is made up of other Android manufacturers such as LG, who have seen a massive spurt of growth recently, largely thanks to the Nexus 4 and their clear targeting of different market tiers with the Optimus G being the flagship and the lower priced L series.

It’s perhaps a little tragic that Nokia and Blackberry are now so far behind in sales that they haven’t managed to break out of being caught in the “others” category.

What’s notable about this, aside from the mobile industry still being very much a 2 horse race for manufacturers, is the apparent domination of Android right now. Only Apple currently has the clout to stop Google’s little green robot from holding every position on this table in some way or another, and it seems like nothing can stop Samsung at the moment. And they’ve not even properly released the S IV yet.

That said though, if Samsung only concentrated on selling premium products like Apple do, this table would likely look a lot different. Samsung’s power is the ability to sell multiple phones to literally every level and every location of the mobile market. It will be interesting to see how 2013 progresses in terms of numbers. After all, Google’s I/O is up in a few weeks and Apple have announced that they have “big things” coming in Q4 of this year.

As always, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the mobile industry, and if your company is wanting to develop an app, you can be sure that your app will be reaching an ever wider audience.

So why not talk to us today and see what Waracle can do for you?

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