Smartphones have been around for quite some time, thanks to Blackberry, but they have started to gain popularity only the last 3-4 years or so. Since 2008 worldwide sales of smartphone per year has increased from 139 million to 968 million per year. This momentum of smartphone sales is not slowing down and if projections are to be believed, soon there would be more smartphones in the world than there are people. There are already more than 7 billion active mobile subscriptions in a planet that houses close to 7 billion humans, so the projections are not that out of the mark.
Rise in Smartphone sales in 2013
As per the reports by Gartner more than 967.77 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2013. That’s 42.28% more than the 2012’s sale of around 680.10 million units. In the fourth quarter alone mobile device manufacturers sold around 282.25 mobile devices; that’s 12.79% more than the Q3 2013 sales of 250 million units.
Samsung and Apple are still king
Even after high advertising efforts by Microsoft-Nokia partnership and dying Blackberry, Samsung and Apple are still the kings of Smartphone market followed by Huawei, LG Electronics, and Lenovo. The Recent purchase of Motorola by Lenovo might make matter interesting in 2014 but for now, Lenovo and others are way behind market leaders.
iOS and windows still have a long way to go
In the smartphone operating system segment, Android is still the most used operating system followed by Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. It’s mainly due to inexpensive nature of Android phones and still low popularity of Microsoft devices. It’s interesting to note that even after significant efforts by Apple and Microsoft, Android still managed to increase its market share from 66.4% in 2012 to 78.4% in 2013. Apple and Microsoft need to work quite a lot to increase their market share and or maybe Apple could even consider launching an android phone.
What the future holds
For the foreseeable future, Apple is not considering launching an android phone and it’s still early to comment on mobile OS war because there are many other aspects involved, including the point that Apple still earns significantly more than Samsung even though it has low market share.
In addition, we have still not seen any significant innovation in the smartphone segment. Newer players and open source hardware can make the matters interesting in the future. Phoneblok and Motorola or now Google’s Project ARA may create something new but there is still a suspense over the next big thing in Smartphone industry.
Another Picture of mobile market
Now that we have discussed all about smartphones I would still like to point out that contrary to internet populace’s belief feature phones are still used very widely. Till now only 1 out of every phone is a smartphone, and even in this age of cheaply available smartphones, more than 839 million feature phones are shipped in 2013. That means there are still more than 839 million potential customers for smartphone makers. And even after the dominance of Samsung and Apple in the smartphone segments, no single device maker dominates the overall mobile manufacturing market. So there is still a lot of scope for other players.