The top and bottom ends of the wireless handset markets are to enjoy the best growth rates over the next five years, according to researchers.
This will be at the expense of mid-range models, commonly called “enhanced” phones. The enhanced phone sector is currently the largest in terms of shipments, with 854 million units shipped in 2007.
But it will be overtaken by both other classes in 2013, with just 441 million shipping.
Kevin Burden, a director of ABI Research and author of the report “Mobile devices annual market overview”, said: “As we see more user sophistication and demand for high-end features, handset manufacturers will continue to push functions of high-level smartphone operating systems further down their product lines.
“Their smartphone portfolios will grow, and with them, the entire smartphone market.”
The report said this was seen as desireable by operators as well, who wanted more smartphone users because of the higher average revenue per user (ARPU) they generated.