It will be a landmark achievement for smartphones driven chiefly by the popularity of iOS and Android-powered handsets.
According to the latest projections from the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship 918.6 million smartphones this year, or 50.1% of the total mobile phone shipments worldwide.
Put differently, more smartphones than feature phones will ship globally in 2013.
Smartphone prices have fallen globally, the smartphone strata are wider than ever, and the roll-out of data-centric fourth-generation (4G) wireless networks are three factors that have made these “do-it-all” devices an increasingly attractive option for users.
What's driving the growth? There are a number of factors, as the IDC points out, not the least important of which are the world's largest emerging markets.
“While we don’t expect China’s smartphone growth to maintain the pace of a runaway train as it has over the last two years, there continue to be big drivers to keep the market growing as it leads the way to ever-lower smartphone prices and the country’s transition to 4G networks is only just beginning,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for IDC Asia/Pacific. “Even as China starts to mature, there remains enormous untapped potential in other emerging markets like India, where we expect less than half of all phones shipped there to be smartphones by 2017, and yet it will weigh in as the world’s third largest market.”