The global number of smartphone users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by the end of 2015, research showed Monday, as more tech players are releasing low-end models to appeal to wider markets.
Around 34.7 percent of the world's 7.2 billion population estimated for 2015 will use smartphones, an industry tracker Strategy Analytics's report showed, which had said the number surpassed the 1-billion mark in 2012.
Industry watchers attributed the rising number to the expansion of low-end smartphones released by global players, which helped them tap deeper into emerging markets, particularly in Asia.
While Strategy Analytics did not release detailed figures, it said the Asia-Pacific region held the most number of smartphone users, while Europe and North America held the highest portion of people holding the high-tech handsets among all mobile phone users.
According to a separate data compiled by Sweden-based Ericsson, the number of the world's smartphone users reached 1.9 billion at
end-2013 and is set to expand to 3.3 billion by the end of 2015, painting a brighter future for the industry.
Despite the rosy outlook for the smartphone industry, however, the world's No. 1 smartphone maker, Samsung Electronics Co., posted a dull estimate for its second-quarter earnings, citing rising challenges in its mobile business.
Analysts said Samsung likely lagged in earnings from the low-end models amid tighter battles with Chinese firms, with the South Korean firm failing to differentiate itself from its rivals.
Samsung's high-end models also suffered, as the combined shipment of the latest Galaxy S5 is estimated at 17 million units over the April-June period, compared with 20 million units for the Galaxy S4 in the three months after its launch.
LG Electronics Inc., Samsung's smaller South Korean rival, however, said last week it has been making significant strides in the global handset market with its G3 model. Its mobile division shipped a record high 14.5 million units of its smartphones in the second quarter, up 20 percent from 2013.
Pantech Co., the country's smallest player, was placed under a debt workout program in March after suffering financial difficulties, and is seeking help from creditors and local mobile carriers, holding a limited leeway to seek its market expansion. (Yonhap)