SAN FRANCISCO -- Industry tracker IDC on Friday reported that shipments of smartphones topped those of basic mobile phones for the first time ever in the first three months of this year.
"Phone users want computers in their pockets," said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo. "The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away."
The rise of smartphones has put power in the hands of Apple (IW 500/9) and Samsung (IW 1000/25), but Chinese companies such as ZTE and Huawei have muscled their way into the top-five sellers, according to IDC.
"In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors," said IDC Mobile Phone team research manager Ramon Llamas. "Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones."
Google-backed Android software for powering smartphones is available free to gadget makers while Apple keeps a tight grip on the iOS operating system for its iPhones.
The global mobile phone market grew 41.6%, with the number of handsets shipped climbing to 418.6 million as compared to 402.4 million in same period last year, IDC reported.
The overall market, which includes basic phones that don't serve as mini-computers linked to the internet, grew 4% to 418.6 million, according to IDC.
Samsung remain the smartphone king, as shipments surged 60.7% to 70.7 million handsets in a showing that topped the combined total shipped by Apple, LG, Huawei, and ZTE, which rounded out the top-five list in that order.
Apple iPhone shipments hit a new high for the company in the first quarter, growing 6.6% to 37.4 million to claim 17.3% of the global market as compared with the 32.7% held by Samsung.
LG saw smartphone shipments double to 10.3 million, while Huawei and ZTE shipped 9.9 million and 9.1 million respectively, according to IDC.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013