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Choosing a Smartphone: It’s Not Just About Who Makes It

Althea Chang
Big Data Download

Apple (AAPL) may be able to rely on a loyal iPhone fan base, but as the number of smartphone users grows, Samsung will be the main beneficiary in terms of market share, according to one industry expert.

While web news readers may be more likely to own smartphones, the number of smartphones in the United States made up only 36 percent of all the cell phones sold in 2012, according to Anuj Kumar, professor of information systems management at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration.

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"If you look at the percentage share of smartphones in the total handset market, it has steadily grown from roughly 5 percent to close to 50 percent, and that is how it is going to grow in the next four years," Kumar told "Big Data Download."

In the beginning of the smartphone revolution, AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S) and were the main gatekeepers that influenced consumers' phone purchase decisions by only supporting specific phones, Kumar said. But carrier influence fell, and individual phone manufacturers garnered loyal fans. Now, individual features and apps are a growing influence on consumers looking to buy a new smart phone, Kumar said.

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More apps are available to Android users than to iOs and Windows mobile users, and that gives Android phones like Samsung's an edge in the smartphone market, Kumar said.

Consumers are already becoming more interested in what Samsung has to offer, according to Yahoo Web search data. Searches for mobile devices in the last 30 days spiked most for the Samsung Galaxy S4 2013 release date, which jumped 3,120 percent within that time period.