Smartphone shipments will pass the one billion mark in a single calender year for the first time in 2013, while the number in use could reach two billion, suggests research by Deloitte analysts.
The study, which defines smartphone as a device with a full touchscreen or QWERTY keyboard, suggests that while usage of the devices and all their capabilities will increase, there will also be a rise in the number of consumers using them for only basic functions.
According to Deloitte's forecast, 2013 will see almost one in five smartphone users connect to the internet less than once a week, preferring to use the devices for more traditional functions like phone calls and text messages.
Many in this group of hundreds of millions of smartphone users won't be subscribed to a data package.
Reasons for this basic use of devices include limited functionality of low-cost, entry-level devices and second-hand phones, along with a lack of interest in using such applications. Deloitte also points towards a lack of understanding or affordability of the costs of data-use for smartphones, along with a lack of Wi-Fi infrastructure for enabling users to connect.
While the likes of the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S III come with a high price point, Deloitte forecasts the rise of cheaper, lower end smartphones will mean half a billion devices sold by the end of the year will have been purchased for $100 or less.
There's also likely to be a rise in ‘hand-me-down' smartphones, older phones sold cheaply or given away, which will struggle to run increasingly sophisticated applications and functions.
Meanwhile, research by Computing last year showed that over 70 per cent of firms now provide smartphones to staff.
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