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NATIONAL REPORT-- Smartphone shipments should reach 567 million this year and surpass the one billion mark worldwide by 2016 as new phones, such as the soon-to-be released Apple iPhone 5, enter the market, according to NPD DisplaySearch.
"Apple's iPhone 5 will be a key product for the smartphone market in the second half of 2012," said Hiroshi Hayase, vice president, small/medium displays for NPD DisplaySearch. "Apple shipped more than 140 million phones in 2010 and 2011, so we can expect smartphone shipments to continue flourishing as users upgrade to the new iPhone."
Hayase added that mobile phone providers could look to shorten replacement cycles in an effort to boost sales. "The timing of mobile phone contracts can also impact the smartphone market," said Hayase.
In related news, consumers are increasingly selecting smartphones as opposed to mobile phones that offer no Internet capabilities. According to a new report from IHS, smartphones will account for half of the mobile phone market by the end of next year. That is two years earlier than the research firm had originally predicted.
"This represents a major upgrade for the outlook compared to a year ago, when smartphones weren't expected to take the lead until 2015," Wayne Lam, IHS' senior analyst, said in a statement, as reported by AllThingsD.com. "Over the past 12 months, smartphones will 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."
IHS made an even loftier prediction for 2016. The firm predicted that smartphones will account for more than two-thirds of mobile phone shipments in just four years, with the most basic phones making up four percent of the market and feature phones representing 28 percent of shipments.