The vanilla mobile industry is shrinking, and the smartphone industry is growing. We've known both of these facts for a while now. What we didn't know was just how rapidly smartphones are spreading across the face of the globe. In 2008 there were 131 million smartphones sold worldwide. By 2013, the number of smartphones sold annually is expected to top 300 million.
This new number comes from the Parks Associates industry research firm. They recently conducted a study which showed that users love smartphones because they “combine practical and entertainment applications into a mobile platform”. That's a nice way of saying 'they let you goof off and also make phone calls'. The growth of app markets was also listed as another major reason for consumer attraction to smartphones.
By 2013 Parks Associates expect worldwide smartphone sales to exceed 1.1 billion. At that point, pretty much every man, woman, and child in the Western world will own a smartphone. It won't take long after that for them to spread everywhere. In ten years, I'd be willing to bet every single mobile on the market will qualify as a 'smartphone' by our standards. Of course, by then we'll have the Sixth Sense, and smartphones will be so passe.