A staggering 180m smartphones were shipped worldwide last year as the market continued to evolve at a blistering pace.
Sales are expected to leap to almost 400m units a year by 2014, according to the research from Parks Associates. By then smartphones will be the industry standard, the market researcher says. The number of smartphone users worldwide is already approaching the landmark 1bn mark.
Nokia, Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry handsets, and Apple control 60 per cent of the highly lucrative market. The rise is expected to fuel an explosion in demand for mobile broadband services that can share content, particularly high-quality video, between devices.
Nokia, which was slow to react to the smartphone market, yesterday unveiled three new phone models to challenge the dominance of Rim’s Blackberry in mobile email.
Nokia has long tried to knock Rim off its perch in this key sector, but with little success.
However, rising demand from consumers for email on their mobiles has opened a new phase in the market rivalry between the pair. Analysts say Nokia may finally hurt its rival with the new mid-range C3 and high-end C6 and E5 models as they are selling them at a price lower than Rim will drop to. The release is being touted as key for Nokia.
However, it is not all smiles for smartphone makers. Palm, which makes the Pre and Pixi phones, is working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer after its latest handset flopped. Chinese PC maker Lenovo and Taiwanese smartphone producer HTC, manufacturers of the hotly anticipated Desire phone, are thought to be interested.