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Global Smartphones Shipments Surpass Feature Phones for the First Time Ever

Apr 26, 2013 04:22 PM EDT
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It was only a matter of time before it happened and today it did - smartphones outshipped basic feature phones for the first time ever in the first three months of 2013, according to a report released Friday.

Research firm  International Data Corporation (IDC) released its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, showing that vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones."

The report also showed that Apple is losing some ground in the smartphone market with only 6.6% year-over-year growth compared to 41.6% growth for the entire market. The rise of smartphones been led by Apple and South Korea's Samsung, but Chinese companies such as ZTE and Huawei have muscled their way into the top-five sellers, according to IDC.

"In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors," said IDC Mobile Phone team research manager Ramon Llamas.

"Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones."

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