For the first time, sales of smartphones have overcome those of so-called feature phones, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, a country-level poll released Thursday. IDC reported that 418.6 million mobile phones were shipped in the "seasonally slow" first quarter of the year, up from 402.4 million units in the same quarter last year, for a 4 percent increase. In the final quarter of 2012, which includes the holiday buying season, 483.2 million mobile phones were consumed.
Of the 418.6 million mobile phones sold worldwide, 216.2 million, or 51.6 percent, were smartphones. This represents an increase in smartphone sales of 41.6 percent from the prior-year period, during which 152.7 million smartphones changed hands. "Phone users want computers in their pockets," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC, in a statement accompanying the report. "As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones." The report breaks down smartphone market share by individual vendor.