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IDC: Smartphones outsell ‘dumb’ phones for first time ever

Say goodbye to those old-school clamshell phones because it’s finally official: smartphones have taken over the world. For the first time ever, more smartphones were shipped during the first quarter of this year than basic feature phones, according to the researchers at IDC. Their latest report finds 51.6 percent of the 418.6 million mobile phones shipped in the first three months of the year were smartphones, Globally, more than 216 million smartphones were shipped, a 42 percent bump from the same time last year. "Phone users want computers in their pockets," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. "The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away." In the US, smartphones overtook regular cellphones in 2011. IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said that the shift to a global majority of smartphones is now being driven by consumers in developing countries such as China, India and Indonesia. Another firm, ABI Research, found that smartphones made up 49 percent of shipments in the first quarter. Samsung Electronics Co, the world's largest phone maker, doesn't provide a breakdown of its phone shipments, and analysts vary in their estimates. Even going by ABI's numbers, it's clear that smartphones will solidly overtake the market this year. The uptick in smartphone use around the world hasn’t just benefited the phone makers — it’s helped advertisers as well. US internet advertising revenue grew 15 percent to a record $36.6 billion in 2012 thanks, largely in part to mobile ad revenue which is growing faster than other types of advertising. A report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers says that mobile ad revenue more than doubled from the previous year to $3.4 billion. It accounted for nine percent of total internet ad revenue in 2012. In 2011, the $1.6 billion in mobile ad revenue made up five percent of the total. Mobile ads represent an area of growth for many companies, including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. Facebook started showing mobile ads last year. Research firm eMarketer, which includes more types of mobile ads in its calculations, expects US mobile ad spending to grow 77 percent in 2013 to $7.29 billion from $4.11 billion last year. Search ads, where Google dominates, still account for nearly half of all online advertising revenue, at $16.9 billion in 2012, according to the report.

Smartphone Sales: A new report says that more than half of cellphone shipments in the first quarter were smartphones.