Global smartphones hit 1 billion – analyst

17 OCT 2012

The number of smartphones in use worldwide has topped 1 billion, according to new figures released today by Strategy Analytics.

The research firm says the milestone was reached in Q3, 16 years after the first smartphone was launched in 1996. It predicts that the next billion will be achieved in less than three years (by 2015).

“We estimate one in seven of the world’s population owned a smartphone in the third quarter of 2012,” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.

But he added that 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 world’s first modern smartphone, the Nokia Communicator, was introduced in 1996 [and] Nokia remained a dominant force in smartphones for over a decade until the arrival of Apple’s iconic iPhone in 2007,” added senior analyst Scott Bicheno.

The firm calculates that the number of smartphones in use worldwide reached 1.038 billion units in Q3, up from 708 million in the same quarter a year ago.