The latest research from NPD DisplaySearch suggests that the smartphone is quickly heading for ubiquity, with annual shipments expected to exceed one billion in 2016. Given there are only seven billion people on the planet, a significant proportion of the earth's inhabitants can be expected to be carrying one by that point, signalling a huge shift in computer ownership. Who would have thought just ten years ago that most of us would be carrying a computer in our pocket.

No doubt boosted by today's iPhone 5 announcement, smartphone shipments will reach 567 million in 2012 according to forecasts from NPD DisplaySearch. That number is expected almost double by 2016, putting annual smartphone shipments well beyond the one billion mark.

“Apple’s iPhone 5 will be a key product for the smartphone market in the second half of 2012." says Hiroshi Hayase, Vice President, Small/Medium Displays for NPD DisplaySearch. "Apple shipped more than 140 million phones in 2010 and 2011, so we can expect smartphone shipments to continue flourishing as users upgrade to the new iPhone.”

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