Smartphone Sales to Smash Billion Barrier

The smartphone is expected to smash the billion sales benchmark, according to accountancy firm Deloitte.

With yearly shipments predicted to reach 1bn globally, Deloitte's study noted that this year the smartphone will become an ubiquitous device across the world - notching the total number of active phones featuring either an alphabet keyboard or touch screen to a staggering 2bn before the end of 2013.

One reason for the increased demand in the device is its availability. What was once considered to be a luxury accessory is now within the public's reach thanks to improved mobile networks and lower prices. Despite the iPhone maintaining its costly price tag (selling for almost £700 for a top spec version), thanks to rival smartphone manufacturers such as HTC and Nokia producing affordable high-performing devices with fast processors, big screens and quality cameras, smartphones are now within the public's reach at much lower prices.

It's been estimated that 500m phones have already been bought for $100 or less, with plans to develop $50 smartphones already in the pipeline.

Yet research in numerous countries has found that approximately one in five owning the sophisticated handheld computers either rarely or never access the web. Whilst the devices won't necessarily be inactive, owners are more likely to use mobiles for more basic tasks such as calling, text messaging and taking photos.

"They are like [traditional] feature phones in a smartphone casing," explained the report's author, global director of Deloitte's technology, media and telecommunications research Paul Lee. "Smartphone penetration goes up but data plan penetration doesn't go up as quickly. Not every mobile will be used in the same way."

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