A report by Strategy Analytics today says that the number of smartphones in use in the world today has surpassed 1 billion for the first time in the third quarter, and will double by the year 2015.
The number reached 1.038 billion in the three-month period, a 47 percent increase from a year earlier, the Boston-based industry researcher said in a statement today. That translates into one in every seven people worldwide owning a handheld device that works like a computer, according to the statement.
Nokia introduced the first “smartphone” in 1996, but the industry’s expansion rapidly increased with the introduction of Apple’s popular iPhone, the report says. Researchers say it will probably take less than three years for the number to double in size.
Neil Mawston, London-based executive director at Strategy Analytics, said smartphone penetration is still relatively low, and “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.”
Bloomberg Industries estimates the growth of the market to be worth $219 billion last year, and has seen Apple and Samsung Electronics collect huge earnings as they take sales from rivals such as Nokia.
Last month saw Apple selling more than 5 million iPhone 5s in the handsets debut weekend, handily breaking the record set by the previous model, the iPhone 4S.
Samsung ended Nokia’s string of 14 years at the top of the smartphone market this year, according to Strategy Analytics.