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Budget phones to swamp the world

Get ready for a deluge of low cost mobile phones
Get ready for a deluge of low cost mobile phones

Smartphones might grab the headlines but it's cheap handsets that are going to take over the world, according to new research.

Juniper Research today predicted that sales of low-cost handsets will accelerate to 700 million units by 2014, accounting for over half the market.

Smartphones, by contrast, will sell just 360 million devices worldwide.

Squeezing the middle

The biggest losers in the next wave of mobile phone technology will be Sony Ericsson and Motorola (if it survives that long), makers of the mid-range handsets whose sales are forecast to shrink by over 40 per cent in the next five years, to just one in five devices.

Smartphones and low cost handsets together will make up nearly 80 per cent of all sales, coming in at around a billion units a year, benefiting Nokia, Apple and RIM, according to Juniper's report.

Emerging markets will take the lion's share of new low cost devices, with India alone forecast to buy one in four of the world's cheap phones in 2014. The report also notes the importance of mobile information services, such as Nokia's Life Tools, which offers useful data such as weather forecasts, seed availability and market prices for agricultural products.