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Smartphones have outsold feature phones for the first time ever

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iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3
iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3

For the first time smartphones are now outselling feature phones worldwide, according to reports from Q1 2013.

Market research firm IDC revealed that smartphone shipments made up 51.6 per cent of the phone market for the first quarter of this year with 216.2 million shipped out of the total 418.6 million. The global mobile phone market in general grew 41.6 per cent, up from 402.4 million shipments last year.

For the first time, smartphones attributed to over half of all quarterly mobile shipments during the opening quarter of this year.

“Phone users want computers in their pockets,” said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo. “The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away. As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones.”

Samsung is currently the top mobile device manufacturer and saw its market share increase from 28.8 per cent to 32.7 per cent over the past year. In fact, the South Korean company shipped 70.7 million phones for the first quarter of this year.

Despite seeing a 6.6 per cent increase in smartphone shipments, in part due to the success of the iPhone 5, Apple could not match the achievements of its Samsung rival. The Cupertino company shipped 37.4 million smartphones in total for this quarter, up from 35.1 million for the last quarter of 2012.

The IDC reports also show that Chinese companies are rising up to become major players in the smartphone industry, displacing previous market leaders like Nokia or BlackBerry and becoming rivals to companies like HTC who recently launched its successful HTC One flagship.

“A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry and HTC among the top five,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC’s Mobile Phone Team Research Manager. “While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones.”

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