Smartphones Top 1 Billion Worldwide

We learned last week that there were 6 billion mobile device users in the world. Today, research firm Strategy Analytics said that the number of global smartphone users has topped 1 billion. The company estimated that there were 708 million smartphones in use in the third quarter of last year, growing to 959 million in the second quarter of this year, and 1.038 billion in the third quarter.

Strategy Analytics' executive director said:

Smartphone penetration is still relatively low. Most of the world does not yet own a smartphone and there remains huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India, and Africa. The first billion smartphones in use worldwide took 16 years to reach, but we forecast the next billion to be achieved in less than three years, by 2015.

Chances are good that this forecast will materialize. Chances are also good that the next billion smartphones will consist of lower-priced models to attract the less affluent emerging market population. How that will play out for market leaders like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung Electronics and other smartphone makers remains to be seen.

Today's report from Strategy Analytics is roughly inline with an earlier report from The NPD Group that global smartphone shipments will reach 1 billion by 2016.

Paul Ausick