Sales of smartphones will reach 300 million by 2013, helping to cushion the downturn in the mobile handset market, says Juniper Research.
High-end mobile handsets (so-called "smartphones") are expected to account for a growing proportion of mobile phones sold each year, potentially sustaining the performance of key brands such as Nokia at a time of economic uncertainty.
A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that between 2008 and 2013, annual sales of smartphones will rise by 95% to more than 300 million.
Underpinning Juniper's forecast is the finding that a rising demand for complex Web 2.0-centric applications is broadening user appeal and expanding the overall market for "smart" devices.
"This key trend is not being lost on handset manufacturers, large and small alike, as they increasingly rely on sales of high-end devices to mass market users. Thanks to this change in focus, smartphones will increasingly become the basis for the next generation of mobile devices," said Juniper.
Other Juniper findings:
By 2013, about 23% of all new mobile phones will be smartphones, up from 13% in 2008
Overall, mobile device shipments grew by a nominal 5-6% at best in 2008, but key suppliers are projecting a decline of up to 10% or more in 2009
As margins on handsets fall, suppliers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson are increasingly diversifying into the service provision arena as a means of bolstering earnings - systems such as music libraries and location-based social networking present significant opportunities in the future