A broadening user base could push smartphone ownership to more than one billion within four years, according to analysts.
Research firm Parks Associates said in a recent report that current sales of smartphones are largely to a younger, tech-savvy user base, but that vendors should focus on making the devices easier to use and include services such as social networking integration.
The reach of the smartphone is on the brink of moving from the early adopter market to the much larger general consumer marketplace, according to Parks Associates, which predicted that more than one billion people will own a smartphone by 2014.
"The diffusion of smartphones is accelerating," said Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at Parks Associates. "As the base grows, users are becoming more heterogeneous in needs and use."
The firm recommends that vendors expand their ranges to include entry-level smartphone offerings to take advantage of this growing market.
However, rather than alienate tech-savvy users with a single offering, the report advises vendors to offer multiple models to cover the different markets.
Parks Associates is not the only analyst firm to foresee an explosion in smartphone sales. Canalys reported last month that touch-screen smartphones in particular are seeing prodigious growth.
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