There are one billion smartphones out there—here's how we're using them

A big report out today points to one billion smartphones. But it's $7K for the details, so here's a few freebies.

A British phone box code

Early this morning, research firm Strategy Analytics told the world (the world that reads press releases at 5 a.m.) that it had more than one billion smartphones in its collective pockets. One in seven people owned a smartphone in the third quarter of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics (SA). What’s more, it could be less than three years until the world hit the two billion smartphone mark.

Neat, huh? But if you were seeking more data about who has those phones, what kind of phones they are, and what’s driving the sales, you would need to pay for Strategy Analytics’ full report, which goes for $6,999. You can pull a few more insights out of Strategy Analytics and its executive director, Neil Mawston by reading some of the press takes on SA’s news. The main growth potential, for example, is in “BRIC nations”: Brazil, Russia, India, China. But there’s a lot of information missing about a really big number.

Here’s what you can get for free by looking elsewhere:

  • Half of U.S. phone sales are smartphones now: According to Nielsen. More than two-thirds of phone buyers in the first quarter of 2012 were buying smartphones, so expect that half to jump up to around 60 percent by year’s end.

  • Smartphones took 27 percent of photos in 2011: As the NPD Group measures it. That’s up from 17 percent in 2010, and traditional cameras dropped just about as fast in photo share, from 52 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2011.

  • 85.9 million people shopped on their phones in July 2012: As measured by comScore. Which means that four out of five smartphones checked out products at, mostly, Amazon, but also Target, the Apple Store, and other online retailers.

  • BlackBerrys are barely a force at all: As the New York Times detailed last week, BlackBerry has fallen off the face of a cliff, market-wise, now holding less than 5 percent of the smartphone market, down from 50 percent three years ago. Even in realms where the BlackBerry should be standing strong, workers are forcing compatibility for the iPhones and Android phones their competitors are using.

Photo by Karen Roe on Flickr.

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