ABI Research recently released the key findings of its latest 'Mobile Handset Markets' forecast, which states that half of all mobile handset shipments will be smartphones by 2014, making them the biggest handset segment in the world. This percentage is expected to grow to 69 percent of all handset shipments by 2018 with 2.4 billion smartphones shipped.
LTE handsets, meanwhile, are expected to make up 35 percent of all handset shipments by this time, accounting for half of all smartphone shipments as manufacturers look to keep their handsets relevant to mobile operators.
In terms of handset manufacturers, Samsung is apparently on track to become the clear leader going forward, to the point that even Apple will be playing catch up. As senior ABI analyst Michael Morgan said in a statement: "Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung’s business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung’s technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future."
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While the Korean electronics giant is expected to continue growth, which has placed it in the 30 percent market share between 2010 and 2012 for smartphones, Apple's market share is expected to peak this year at 22 percent, which will remain flat through to 2018. That said, the coming years will still see some shakeups for Samsung as its future devices are expected to rely less on Android, which currently accounts for 90 percent of the company's smartphone shipments.
This means that the future smartphone OS landscape will largely depend upon which OS Samsung places more importance on, be it Bada, Tizen, Windows Phone or Android.
The mobile hardware market, then, will also be largely dictated by Samsung but, as a recent ABI Research report entitled 'Samsung Galaxy SIII E210s' states, the company is relying more on its own hardware, dropping Qualcomm's modem in favor of its own solution for its flagship device in 2012.
Edited by Brooke Neuman