According to the market research firm IDC (International Data Corporation), the smartphone market is now larger than the PC market. In the last quarter of 2010, 101 million smartphones were sold across the world. On the other hand, only 92 million PCs were shipped. Year on year, the smartphone market grew 87% and this figure assumes even more significance when it's compared to the fact that the PC market grew less than 3% during the same period.
The growth story of the smartphone market seems to be ahead of schedule, as a number of experts and analysts had predicted that the PC count would be beaten some time during 2011. This can be attributed to the success of Google's operating system for handheld devices, Android. This open-source OS continues to drive growth with various handset manufacturers including Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola aggressively deploying this platform on their products. However, Nokia with its Symbian-based phones continues to lead the smartphone pack with a market share of 28%.
Apple's iPhone has also done exceedingly well, with more than 16 million units being shipped as of Q4 2010. Apple now holds the number two spot in the smartphone market, beating incumbent Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry. It is important to note that Apple continues to make more money on every phone sold as compared to its competitors and hence, reports higher revenues and profits.
The growth of the PC market has been slowing down for the past few years and this trend is expected to continue. Here, it must be mentioned that if IDC had included tablet computers in their study, the PC market would have fared better. 15 million iPads were sold by Apple in 2010, with 7 million of these being sold in the last quarter.
Experts predict that smartphone adoption will continue to rise with introduction of more entry-level and mid-range models targeted at the mass market. These developments augur well for Indian tech startups involved in app development. With more devices to target and device capabilities also widening, it looks like an exciting time for business ideas centered around mobile computing.
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Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 9th February 2011 | Bangalore
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