Market watchers agree. As many as 600 million smartphones will ship in 2014, and as many as half of them will be low cost models replacing feature phones, according to Linley Gwennap, principal of the Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.). Chips that integrate apps processors and basebands will power 70 percent of those handsets, up from 40 percent in 2010, Gwennap predicts.
Likewise, Strategy Analytics said China overtook the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market in the third quarter of 2011. The shift was largely thanks to China’s cellular carriers who bought lots of models that cost less than US$160, making it the fastest growing segment.