Samsung, with its suite of successful smartphones, is in a better position than most mobile phone makers to know about the future of the devices–and it’s betting that in just three years 29% of all cellphones sold will be smart ones. That represents a growth of over 100% on the current global smartphone market.
The prediction actually comes from Samsung Mobile Display, a Samsung Electronics venture that manufactures screens for portable gadgets: This venture predicts that the global market for smartphones will grow from 170 million this year to 500 million in 2012. These figures would contribute to the smartphone market rising from just 14% of all phones sold in the current year, to around 29%–roughly one in three. Furthermore, the company also suggests that by 2013 up to 50% of the main portable gadgets we use–like phones, cameras, GPS units and PMPs–will have a touchscreen as their main interface. Touchscreen technology has long been the stuff of sci-fi, but with the popularity of the iPhone (and other similar phones and personal computers) it’s become clear that it’s going to expand across more devices.
As for the display technology on these gadgets, Samsung also predicts that OLED will establish a 50% grip over the mobile phone market within five years. And OLEDs will be found on 20% of digital cameras and 30% of handheld games machines–largely thanks to the technology’s better contrast and lower power consumption than LCDs, making the technology perfect for devices primarily used outdoors and away from power sockets.
There’s nothing surprising hidden in these statistics, although the smartphone market share figure predicted by Samsung does seem particularly low, given the rocket-fueled growth of the sector in the aftermath of the iPhone. A quick straw poll among my friends shows that nearly 50% of them own a smartphone. It could be a reflection of the global market, since not every nation has the infrastructure in place to support full “smartphone” functionality, and in many places dumb phones are only just in common use. If that’s so, it’s arguable that the share of smartphones you’ll encounter in the developed world will actually be significantly greater than the 29% Samsung foresees.