There will be two billion smartphones by year’s end


Let’s file this prediction by uber accounting firm Deloitte under ‘been there, done that’: world smartphone shipments will top one billion during 2013, and near two billion by year’s end.

Back in October 2012, we reported that industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics announced the mark was passed during the third quarter of last year.

However, Deloitte adds a wrinkle to the smartphone race, forecasting we should top the 2 billion mark by the end of 2013. This means that an astounding billion shipments are expected throughout the calendar year 2013. That appears to suggest demand for smartphones is increasing across the globe. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Strategy Analytics projected it would take until 2015 before we hit two billion smartphones…

While the accounting firm appears to have a lose definition of a smartphone, essentially counting any device someone believes is a smartphone – the projection does echo previous reports pointing to China and the global transition from basic feature phones (or dumb phones, as they call them).

The current smartphone world is divided into two camps, a duopoly between iOS and Android.

ios vs android

In the US, Apple recently displaced LG as the No. 2 smartphone maker. Meanwhile, Android has the lead in China, increasingly competitive as mobile consumers rapidly adopt smartphones.

Perhaps one reason for the explosion in smartphones is the equally rapid growth of high-speed LTE networks. More than 200 carriers in 75 countries will launch LTE networks during 2013. Total LTE subscriptions will top 200 million, a 17-fold increase in the past two years, according to Deloitte.

Nielsen (US smartphone penetration 201202)
Per Nielsen, smartphone penetration hit the 50 percent mark in March 2012.

While the company’s forecasters are spot-on in other mobile arenas, such as their prediction of a 50 percent increase in advertising on smartphones and tablets, they miss the mark in other trends for 2013.

For instance, despite the rise of tablets and the fall of desktop and laptop PCs, the accountants believe “more than 70 percent” of computer users will continue to use PCs in the office and home. Omitted from this questionable prediction is describing how PCs will be used.

We’ve seen common PC tasks – such as email and web surfing – shift to the tablet.

As a result, PC sales are falling and computer maker Dell is now on the ropes.

Just how PCs will be used in a tablet-dominated world is unclear, but I bet you have a few ideas of your own.

Why not share them in the comments?