The number of smartphone users in the world has now reached one billion, according to research by Strategy Analytics.

While an estimated 708 million owned this type of gadget last year, now approximately one-in-seven people on earth have an advanced mobile phone.

This is an extremely significant milestone for the high-tech device, which is particularly popular in countries like the UK, US and Japan.

Smartphones are different from mobile phones as they offer features more similar to a computer.

One of the main characteristics is that they are powered by an operating system. Market leaders today are Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone.

Strategy Analytics believes that the release of the first iPhone significantly influenced the smartphone market.

Apple released the first generation of its sleek handset in 2007; September 2012 saw the sixth-generation version, the iPhone 5, go on sale in the UK.

The firm thinks that usage will incline more steeply from now on, expecting user numbers to reach two billion in less than three years.

Posted by Simon Thomas

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