While we may discuss at length the various nuances of Apple’s iOS or Google's Android or debate the need for a rear-facing camera on a tablet, if figures released today are to be believed the vast majority of the world couldn’t care less.
Figures released by RBC Capital Markets show that smartphone and tablet users are way down the list of consumer service and device usage, coming in behind the humble newspaper, which has long since been destined for the scrap heap according to many prophesiers. The research shows that out of a world population reaching nearly 7 billion people, there are over 5 billion mobile subscribers. However out of this figure, there are less than 400 million smartphone and tablet users. The fact that less than 10 percent of all mobile users are using smartphones or tablets shows just how little they have penetrated some areas of the world.
We saw back in January that Android had finally toppled Nokia’s Symbian as the number one smartphone OS in the final quarter of 2010. However the fact that Nokia was still way out ahead in the overall mobile phones sales figures shows just how many ‘dumb’ phones the Finnish manufacturer is still selling. The figures from RBC show that newspaper circulation and broadband connections both beat the number of smartphone/tablet users with 513 million and 555 million consumers respectively. The numbers show that 2 billion of the world’s population are connected to the internet in some way with almost 1.3 billion PCs around the globe.
The figures show that while most of the media coverage of technology is concerned with the latest and greatest smartphones or tablets, for the majority of people around the world, it matters little. Of course on the other hand the figures will show manufacturers that the potential for growth in this market is huge and devices such as the budget Orange San Francisco will become more and more popular in developing countries of the world where smartphone use is small.