Smartphones Outsell Feature Phones for the First Time

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Posted 4 years ago

Smartphones Outsell Feature Phones for the First TimeIt is hard to imagine our daily lives without smartphones. Heck, it’s pretty much all we talk about on this blog – give or take a tablet or two. Given just how much smartphones have dominated the mobile landscape over the past couple of years, it’s easy to forget that not every mobile user makes their calls on these top-of-the-range pocket computers.

Until a couple of days ago when the International Data Corporation (IDC) released their Q1 worldwide mobile sales research figures, smartphones were very much playing second fiddle to the feature phone. However, in a sign that – as TechRadar puts it – the smartphone revolution is complete, mobiles with computing functionality have outsold their more basic cellular counterparts.

This is the first time that smartphone sales have ever surpassed those of feature phones, taking a reported 51.6 percent share of the 418.6 million handsets sold during Q1 2013. The IDC research showed that 216.2 million smartphones were shipped during the first three months of the year, with feature phones falling off the pace with 202.4 million units shipped. Those figures put smartphone sales up a massive 42 percent on the same time last year.

“The balance of smartphone power has shifted,” said IDC analyst Kevin Restivo. “Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days when phones were used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away.”

There are no prizes on offer for guessing who is on top of the pile in terms of overall sales; that is, of course, Samsung.

The Korean company is most responsible for driving sales of smartphones, with a whopping 32.7 percent of all shipments during Q1. That total puts Samsung at almost double the 17.3 percent of Apple, with Korean rival LG making up the top three – most likely due to the success of the Google Nexus 4.

IDC also attributes some of the smartphone growth to Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE, both of which have earned reputations for producing solid and well-spec’d smartphones that retail at prices similar to feature phones.

With smartphones now taking the lead and expected to grow even further, feature phone manufacturers will be left wondering where to go next. We may well be looking at the beginning of the end of the low-spec call and text experience; but, let’s be honest, in the information-hungry social media driven world that we live in, everyone owning a smartphone can only be a good thing.

– Anthony Carter

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