According to a new research report by Berg Insight (PDF brochure is available from here), smartphones equipped with quad-core processors reached 40 million units worldwide in 2012. Total smartphone sales grew almost 47% to 690 million units in 2012, up from 470 million units in the previous year.
High-end smartphones with unsubsidized retail prices above 400 EUR and low-cost devices priced at around 100 EUR and below contributed to most of the growth in the smartphone category last year. Sales of high-end devices increased from about 150 million units in 2011 to an estimated 250 million units in 2012. However, going forward, most of the growth will come from low-cost smartphones costing less than 100 EUR, followed by mid-range handsets.
The first smartphones with dual-core CPUs were released in early 2011, offering more than double the computing power of the previous generation high-end smartphones. Sales of these devices accelerated in 2012, reaching an estimated 250 million units, up from 70 million units in 2011.
As for quad-core smartphones, they were launched in early 2012, and today a wide range of standalone processors and system-on-chips (SoCs) that integrate processors and cellular basebands are available to address different price points. This will likely bring more choice for consumers, while product marketing becomes more challenging for handset vendors.
Berg Insight anticipates that nearly all of the 1.5 billion smartphones sold in 2017 will be equipped with at least dual-core processors and the majority will feature quad-core processors…