2006 will bring a growth spurt in the smartphone market, says ABI Research.

Worldwide shipments will more than double to 123m units and smartphones will take nearly 15% of the total mobile phone market…According to ABI analyst Philip Solis, a number of factors lie behind the growing momentum.

“Increasing demand for robust data communications applications – especially mobile email and instant messaging – will play a role, particularly as 3G speeds improve the appeal of mobile data services”.

Increasing sales volumes mean prices are falling, while the choice of models on offer is growing rapidly.And “even as their functionality expands, smartphones are shrinking in size, offering lower power consumption and longer battery life”.

Finally, Solis sees real appeal in WiFi – “we expect to see fully a quarter of all models offering embedded WiFi by 2010.”

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