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Worldwide population outnumbered by mobile devices by 2017

By 2017, the worldwide population will be outnumbered by the amount of mobile devices in use across the globe.

The combined total number of mobile phones, smartphones and tablets in use by 2017 will be larger than the world’s population, according to predictions from analysts CSS Insight.

 Over 6.6 million mobile phones alone will be in use by 2017 states the company in its latest market forecast, with smartphones accounting for two thirds of that figure. In 2012, smartphones only contributed just under 25 per cent of all mobile devices sold.

This year alone sales predictions put mobile phone sales at over 1.9 billion and 53 per cent of that figure will be taken up by smartphone sales.

Smartphone adoption, especially in North America and Western Europe has grown exceedingly quickly. It is suggested that full saturation in these locations will be achieved within three years. Over half of all mobile devices used in the US and Western Europe are already smartphone devices, but by 2015 that statistic will rise to 80 per cent.

With these regions reaching full saturation, beyond 2015 emerging markets will account for the majority of growth in the global mobile device market.

Tablet sales are also seeing rapid increases, with combined smart mobile sales due to rise by 2.5 times over the period between 2012 and 2017 to 2.1 billion units.

Despite their market dominance, CSS Insight predicts even Google and Apple faces challenges with iOS and Android adoption.

“Having defined the modern smartphone era, Apple is struggling to keep up with overall smartphone market growth, particularly as that growth shift towards emerging markets”, said CSS Insight’s Director of Forecasting, Marina Koytcheva. “Apple will have to choose between sustaining its profit margin and holding onto market share.”

“Android on the other hand is highly dependent on Samsung. As profit margins are squeezed Google will need to ensure Android remains a viable choice for other phone-makers.”

Microsoft and BlackBerry still need to make an impact, although they are increasingly seen as “relevant competitor[s]” on the mobile device market.

New mobile operating systems like Tizen, Firefox and Sailfish will all be wrestling for a slice of the mobile device sector market share in the future.

Next, read our pick of the best mobile phones of 2013.

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