The smartphone segment is becoming central to the development of the global mobile industry.

With mobile subscriptions’ penetration of the population having already surpassed 100% in most developed markets and quickly approaching that mark on a global level, a sign of near market saturation, industry players are focusing on mobile data as the main revenue growth source for the future, according to Research and Markets ( In addition to network and service investments being made to pursue this opportunity, data services need user-friendly terminals and interfaces to engage customers, according to the research group.

Smartphones are just such devices. Following a sluggish start when mainly targeted at business users, they have witnessed exploding sales in recent years, especially since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. The iPhone “delivered a landmark consumer-focused user experience and changed the way the industry did business,” says Research and Markets.

Further contributing to the smartphone segment’s sky-rocketing growth, the launch of Google’s Android open source operating system in 2008. It enabled smartphones to reach the mass market, with more handset makers being able to enter the segment with a similar user experience to that of the iPhone and at quickly decreasing price points,” according to Research and Markets.