Apple's iPhone, along with Android-equipped phones, have helped drive smartphone sales.
According to industry figures, the number shipments of smartphones have outstripped those of feature phones (standard mobile phones with PDA functions) for the first time.
Market analysis firm IDC
, announced that feature phone shipments have declined sharply in the second quarter this year, as more consumers make the move to smartphones.
Figures show that feature phone shipments were down 29 per cent at 20.4 million units in the second quarter of this year, while smartphone shipments increased by 48 per cent to 21.8 million units compared to the same period a year ago. This means that smartphone shipments accounted for 52 per cent of all mobile phone shipments.
The new figures are likely due to smartphones penetrating lower budget markets, traditionally a haven for high-end feature phones, including those based on the declining Nokia Symbian operating system, with Android undoubtedly driving many sales here. Apple's iPhone has also proved a popular draw to people making the move from feature phones.
Meanwhile, mobile phone operators have also reduced the amount of subsidy they apply to feature phones, making them less attractive. According to IDC, feature phones are becoming a niche segment driven by very-low-end devices targeted at users who only need a phone for voice and texts.
Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager at IDC explained that smartphones now dominate the Western European phone market and those vendors with stronger portfolios in the segment are consolidating their positions, compared with those manufacturers with less attractive smart devices.
Android-powered handsets from the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson have been able to drive strong volumes and to grab the biggest slice of share from the declining Symbian as Nokia moves to Windows Phones.'
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