PETALING JAYA, Kuala Lumpur - According to Strategy Analytics, there were 1.038 billion smartphones in use worldwide in Q3 of 2012, with one in seven individuals smartphone-equipped.
The situation here in Malaysia is quite similar: According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)'s latest publicly available statistics, the mobile phone penetration rate stands at 133.3 per cent.
That means practically everyone in Malaysia has a mobile phone while a third has more than one.
While it took more than 15 years for the first billion people to get smartphones, Strategy Analytics predicts that because of the emerging markets such as Africa, China and India, the 2 billion mark will be passed by 2015, just three years after the first billion was reached.
This trend is enabling more and more people around the world to have regular access to the Internet that wouldn't have had in the past.
Now, think back 10 to 15 years ago do you remember what mobile phone you were using?
Some of you might recall the limited memory space, LCD screens, monophonic ringtones, and definitely no mobile internet or social networking capabilities, unless you count SMS-ing your friends as "mobile social networking". It's amazing to think how far mobile technology has progressed in such a short time span.
Indeed for many users, smartphones are replacing conventional desktop PCs as their primary means of connectivity. Big corporations and website developers have keyed into this and have reacted accordingly.
QR code scanning has blossomed. Websites have become mobile-friendly. Mobile advertising is booming. And, of course, social networking is being streamlined for mobile access.
Smartphone manufacturers are racing to optimise their handsets for an increasingly connected world.
Display technology is not only becoming sharper, more vivid, more resistant to glare and generally more lifelike in its rendering of images it is also appearing on flagship models in bigger screen sizes that are better suited to connectivity related tasks.
Chipsets are becoming more powerful dual core is being trumped by quad core to handle more sophisticated processing demands, and in terms of software, phones are being centred around social networking capabilities.