Global shipments of smartphones are expected to grow more than 230% in the next five years, according to a research firm.
The latest figures from analyst firm Juniper Research predict the number of worldwide smartphone shipments will reach one billion by 2016, up from 302 million in 2010.
Low-cost smartphones, retailing at $150 or lower, will make up almost a third of shipments by 2016, said the firm. In February 2011, the analyst company said more low-cost smartphones could be used within enterprises as an entry-level market emerges in the UK.
Juniper Research said sales of high-cost smartphones will be driven by new technologies, such as near-field communications (NFC), 3D and biometrics, as well as competition among manufacturers driving prices down.
Daniel Ashdown, research analyst at Juniper Research and report author, said: "In developed markets, many consumers will want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone, but still pay a feature phone price. In emerging markets though, lower average consumer spending power and lack of operator subsidies will make a low price point essential."
Juniper Research believes manufacturer competition will start to increase in the economy smartphone space, while smartphones will start to "morph into other devices" such as tablets and netbooks.
At the start of 2011, analyst figures showed global shipments of smartphones reached 94 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 75% compared with the same period in 2009 and double 2008 numbers.
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