A Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) representative at a press conference on Sunday, Jan. 6, said the technology industry has entered the “post-smartphone era” when communication functions such as calls and texting are no longer the main focus for smartphones.
The representative noted that smartphones now mainly are used for non-communication types of functions, adding that, ?The smartphone has become the viewfinder of your digital life.?
CEA said this trend reflects an overall shift in the technology market?s focus away from hardware and toward apps.
IHS predicts global smartphone shipments will rise by 28 percent this year to 836 million units, up from 654 million in 2012, as presented in Figure 1.
This represents a slowdown from 35 percent growth in 2012 and the 61 percent increase in 2011, according to the IHS iSuppli.
However, 2013 will mark the first year that smartphones will account for more than 50 percent of global cellphone shipments.
The rising usage of smartphones for non-communication purposes is illustrated by the soaring worldwide demand for apps.
Global smartphone application store revenue is set to more than double from 2012 to 2016. Revenue generated from the sales of smartphone apps is projected to rise to 10.8 billion euros in 2016, up from 4.1 billion euros in 2012, as presented in Figure 2.
After more than doubling in 2011, worldwide revenue climb 48 percent in 2013 to reach 6.1 billion euros.
CEA also said consumer electronics products are becoming ?sensorized? ? i.e., devices like smartphones are making increasing use of sensors that allow the digitization of everyday things.
Specific types of applications mentioned included infrared, near-field communications and moisture sensors that tell users when their plants need to be watered.
At the presentation, CEA specifically mentioned microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which commonly serve as sensors in smartphone applications, including gyroscopes, accelerometers and pressure sensors.
Global revenue for MEMS in consumer and mobile applications is anticipated to reach $3.2 billion in 2013, up 22 percent from $2.6 billion in 2012, as presented in Figure 3. Revenue will soar to $4.9 billion in 2016.
CEA said CES 2013 will see the introduction of an increasing number of Internet-connected devices that have built-in intelligence.
Global shipments of Internet-connected products ? a category that includes Web-enabled mobile computers, mobile devices like smartphones and media tablets, as well as consumer electronics products like game consoles and smart TVs ? are set to nearly double over the next few years.
Shipments worldwide of such Internet-connected devices are expected to rise to 2.4 billion units in 2016, up from 1.2 billion in 2012, as presented in Figure 4.
Shipments will expand 26 percent in 2013 to 1.5 billion units.