Figures quoted by the TechRadar technology news website suggest that nearly one-third of the people on Earth now use a smartphone. As you would expect, well developed countries in North America and Europe have the highest overall levels of ownership. Globally, Denmark leads the way; more than three-quarters (77%) of the general population own a smartphone.
So what does 2018 hold for the smartphone market?
Here are 5 things to keep an eye out for:
1. Screens will get larger
When the first iPhone was released in 2007, smartphones all looked very similar – most had screens around the 3.5” mark. As people have begun to use their phones for watching videos and browsing the web however, screen sizes have increased dramatically. The latest iPhone X has a 5.8” screen, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a massive 6.3” wraparound screen.
During 2018, we expect to see more people choosing devices with larger screens. We also expect more manufacturers to follow the trend for edge-to-edge screens.
2. The developing world will see the largest growth in ownership
Pretty much everyone who wants a smartphone in Europe and North America now owns one. The market has effectively reached saturation point, so the only sales of new devices go to people upgrading or replacing their existing device.
Future growth will come in developing countries like India, China and Vietnam. eMarketer is predicting sales volume increases of nearly 20% in these countries during 2018.
3. More people will get online for the first time
The cost of smartphones continues to fall, making low-end handsets available to even more people – which is why there will be massive market growth in 2018. For most new smartphone owners in developing countries it will be the first time they have ever had direct access to the internet.
The smartphone will be these peoples’ primary computing device too – most will not have a home computer, laptop or tablet. Everything they do online will be using their phone.
4. AR will finally take off
The release of ARKit with Apple iOS11 is set to revolutionise the way we access information about our surroundings. Known as ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR for short), apps can use the smartphone camera to overlay graphics and data on your screen, providing a digital ‘layer’ to your surroundings.
The technology has been around for a few years, but with Apple’s support, AR will go mainstream very quickly. Some apps, like Pokemon Go, have already been updated to show game characters interacting with the world around the players.
5. We will see more mobile malware in the wild
Although a boost in the number of smartphones is good news for the people using them, it also means that cybercriminals will ramp up their attacks on mobile platforms. There have already been a number of mobile malware related incidents in 2017, and we expect to see them increase in frequency over the next year.
No matter where you are located, or how many years you have been using a smartphone, we strongly recommend downloading a security app like Panda Mobile Security that can protect you against mobile malware. The low annual fee is a useful insurance policy against attacks.
Ready for more in-depth predictions? Check out our 2018 Cybersecurity Trends Report.