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What Gartner says about smartphones: They outsell feature phones

So it’s done. More smartphones were sold in 2013 than feature phones. Does this mean that smartphones outnumber feature phones on the world’s networks? No. But that too will happen. And it appears from the industry data that the takeup has been faster than expected in developing country markets.

Watching the sales of smartphones and feature phones in recent years has felt similar to watching a Ferrari race a horse. You know the Ferrari is going to win, it’s just a matter of when.

Well, for smartphones, it looks as if it finally happened. On Thursday, Gartner, the research firm, said that in 2013 worldwide smartphone sales surpassed the sales of feature phones (typically, this means a regular cellphone) for the first time.

In total, the number of smartphones sold was close to a billion, reaching a record 968 million for 2013. This was up 42 percent from 2012. About 839 million feature phones were sold.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, Gartner said that 58 percent of mobile phone sales were smartphones.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in the report that most of the new smartphones sales were in less mature markets, including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Toward the end of the year, China also contributed significantly to the increase in smartphone sales as devices like Apple‘s iPhone became available on China Mobile, China’s largest mobile carrier.

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