Ina Fried

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Half of All Mobile Phones Will Be Smartphones by 2013, Two Years Earlier Than Forecast

Those smartphones are growing up so fast.

It seems like just yesterday they were sending their first emails from their baby keyboards, and now they are poised to take over the world.

A new report from IHS says that smartphones will account for half the market in 2013, two years earlier than the firm had earlier predicted.

The research firm breaks phones into three categories: Smartphones, feature phones and basic, low-cost phones. Smartphones will already be more plentiful than feature phones this year, IHS says, though they won’t quite pass the 50 percent threshold. That’s up from just 35 percent of the worldwide market last year.

“This represents a major upgrade for the outlook compared to a year ago, when smartphones weren’t expected to take the lead until 2015,” IHS senior analyst Wayne Lam said in a statement. “Over the past 12 months, smartphones have fallen in price, and a wider variety of models [has] become available, spurring sales of both low-end smartphones in regions like Asia-Pacific, as well as midrange to high-end phones in the United States and Europe.”

By 2016, smartphones will account for more than two-thirds of mobile phone shipments, IHS predicts. The most basic phones will account for just 4 percent of the market by then, with feature phones representing 28 percent of shipments.

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