By the end of 2012, more than 5 billion mobile phones will be in use around the globe. Among these will be 4.4 billion camera phones and 1.2 billion smartphones. To put things in perspective: the installed base of television sets and personal computers is 1.9 and 1.4 billion, respectively. These astonishing numbers come by way of Tomi Ahonen, a former Nokia exec rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in 2011. Ahonen released his annual analysis on the mobile phone industry this week and pre-published these numbers along with some other statistical tidbits on his blog.
The data provides some neat insights about the scope and composition of the mobile phone market. For example we tend to forget that less than one quarter of mobile handsets are actually smartphones. Moreover, even in 2012, only 11 percent of global handset sales will be premium smartphones, Ahonen notes. I.e. those phones everybody keeps talking about currently account for little more than one tenth of the market (in unit terms). Almost 60 percent of all mobile phones sold in 2012 will cost less than $79 dollars and that is without the carrier subsidies we all grew accustomed to.
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