1 Billion Smartphone Sales a Year Expected by 2016

Smartphones are already growing to be more and more popular by the year, with marquee devices like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S proving popular with buyers across the globe.

With smartphone sales between the 298 million and 321 million marks, depending on who you listen to, it’s fair to say that the industry is on the up already. But, according to new research, it is believed that smartphones could hit the magic 1 billion sales mark as soon as 2016.

That’s a lot of phones….

The mind blowing number comes courtesy of Juniper Research, who believes that the key to selling more smartphones is to get existing feature phone users to upgrade. While we’re not ones to knock research, we’re not sure that stating the blindingly obvious is really research, but moving on…

Juniper’s Daniel Ashdown goes on to explain that the real target is the developing countries around the world, where so called ‘dumb phones’ are the norm. Low income coupled with carriers reluctant to subsidise handsets means any potential smartphone sales will come from handsets that keep below a certain price scale. That’s not the iPhone, then.

This is no doubt where Android really comes into its own.

We’ve already seen some fairly low budget handsets come out of the likes of ZTE and Motorola in Europe, and the hardware will only get cheaper as time moves on.

“Smartphones report author Daniel Ashdown explains: “in developed markets, many consumers will want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone, but still pay a feature phone price. In emerging markets though, lower average consumer spending power and lack of operator subsidies will make a low price point essential”. Juniper predicts that open-source operating systems – predominantly Android – combined with the falling cost of key components will make this possible.”

Here’s hoping someone comes up with the magic recipe for bringing low-cost, yet capable smartphones to the people that need them.