High-end mobile handsets (so-called ‘smartphones’) are expected to account for a growing proportion of mobile phones sold each year, potentially sustaining the performance of key brands such as Nokia at a time of economic uncertainty. A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that, between 2008 and 2013, annual sales of smartphones will rise by 95% to over 300 million.
Underpinning Juniper’s forecast is the finding that a rising demand for complex Web 2.0-centric applications is broadening user appeal and expanding the overall market for ‘Smart’ devices.
This key trend is not being lost on handset manufacturers, large and small alike, as they increasingly rely on sales of high-end devices to mass market users. Thanks to this change in focus, smartphones will increasingly become the basis for the next generation of mobile devices.
According to Smartphone report author Andrew Kitson: “The process of evolving mobile phones into Internet-centric, highly personalised mobile computers is well underway. Changes in the design and form of mobile devices, such as the inclusion of large touch-based displays, have been taken to their limits. Looking ahead, the shape and form of next-generation devices will most likely be led by software and content, rather than hardware, as vendors such as Nokia strive to make their devices highly personalised and rooted firmly in the online environment.”
Other findings include;
– By 2013, around 23% of all new mobile phones will be smartphones, up from 13% in 2008.
– Overall, mobile device shipments grew by a nominal 5-6% at best in 2008, but key vendors are projecting a decline of up to 10% or more in 2009.
– As margins on handsets fall, vendors like Nokia and Sony Ericsson are increasingly diversifying into the service provision arena as a means of bolstering earnings – solutions such as music libraries and location-based social networking present significant opportunities in the future.