MrSeb writes "According to some numbers compiled by Michael Degusta, smartphones might just be the fastest-spreading technology in human history. The only technologies that come close is the adoption of television between 1950 and 1953, and the recent emergence (and rapid growth) of the tablet market. While his numbers are entirely US-centric, they are representative of other Western world countries. What about the rest of the world, though? Well, mobile phones (and now smartphones) are kind of unique in this regard. Historically, the adoption of advanced technologies is usually closely linked to a country’s GDP — but mobile phones have completely bucked that trend. In 2001, there was just one billion mobile phone subscribers — most of them in developed countries. Today there are six billion subscribers, and 73% of those (4.4 billion!) are in developing countries that account for just 20% of the world’s total GDP. In short, in just 10 years, mobile phones have almost reached saturation point in countries where people earn just a few dollars per day (and we have cheap ARM CPUs to thank for that!) Smartphones, with their larger screens and processors, are obviously more expensive than feature phones at the moment, but it’s only a matter of time until they’re cheap enough for worldwide adoption. In the first quarter of 2012, worldwide, 36% of all mobile phone shipments were smartphones, compared to 25% the year before."
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