Consumers worldwide are expected to purchase as many as 190 million smartphones this year, representing an increase of 52 percent compared to last year. Gartner Research Director Carolina Milanesi told Dow Jones: “We are expecting the smartphone market to grow strongly with royalty free operating systems like Symbian, Android, and Linux pushing deeper down into product portfolios. Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone isn’t huge in sales volume, but it helped energize the market. People are now walking into stores and asking for a smartphone, something that didn’t really happen in the past.” If sales go as expected, smartphones will make up about 15 percent, or $65 billion, of the overall 1.28 billion handset market.
2012 expectations: Looking further out, Milanesi expects smartphone unit sales to reach more than 700 million of the 1.8 billion handset market by 2012. At those levels, smartphones will represent 65 percent, or $200 billion of the $312 billion total mobile phone market. The driving factors are royalty-free operating systems that help reduce the cost of handsets.
Device manufactures: Going forward, dominant smartphone manufacturers will continue to be Nokia (NYSE: NOK), while Chinese manufacturer ZTE and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) will begin to do more strongly. In addition, Samsung is trying to make the transition to more smartphones, while LG (SEO: 066570) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) are struggling. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 isn’t expected to make a big splash.