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Smartphone sales top 1 billion units in 2013

Smartphone sales are predicted to top 1 billion by the end of the year, with 4G LTE usage rising to one in three by 2017.

Over half of all mobile phone shipments (55 per cent) made this year will be for smartphones, according to predictions made by telecoms analysts CCS Insight.

By 2017, smartphones sales will make up 78 per cent of the 2.19 billion mobile phones sold across the world.

“The insatiable demand for smartphones keeps growing, with over one billion smartphones expected to be sold in 2013”, said Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight’s Director of Forecasting. “This explosive growth is occurring despite the overall market for mobile phones slowing down, as the mix of new sales is firmly shifting to more-capable smart devices.”

Feature phone shipments will fall below 500 million by 2017, and by that time profit margins will be next to nothing with market dominance from Samsung, Nokia and Alcatel One Touch.

“Whether Microsoft will have the appetite to stay in such a cutthroat segment after the proposed acquisition of Nokia’s device business remains to be seen,” added Koytcheva.

Although 4G LTE networks are relatively new in the smartphone world, CCS Insight expects it to become more readily adopted as the compatibility comes to cheaper models.

Of the approximate 2.2 billion phones sold in 2017, 4G LTE smartphones will account for one in three of every phone sold.

In terms of mobile operating systems, Google’s Android is expected to stay strong and only increase its dominance over new and existing rivals.

Apple on the other hand will see its share of the smartphone market decrease as consumers favour mid-range and lower priced devices. However, if the iPhone 6 packs a larger screen and “some big innovations”, Apple will still sell more phones than ever before.

Next, read our roundup of the best smartphones of 2013.

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