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The total number of smartphones worldwide is forecast to rise from 2.74 billion at the end of 2015 – equivalent to 37.4% penetration of total mobile connections – to 4.48 billion by the end of 2018, according to the latest research by mobilesquared.

The UK-based research analyst firm have launched their first Databook, called Global subscriptions & smartphone forecasts by country (2015-18). The Databook forecasts China and India alone will account for almost half (48.5%) of net smartphone additions over the period – with China surpassing 1 billion smartphones in use by end-2018 and India becoming the single largest market by annual growth in smartphone users.

“With many developed markets seeing individual mobile subscriptions reaching saturation and smartphone numbers slowing, we expect growth over the three years to 2018 to be centred on Africa, Asia and Latin America,” said Gavin Patterson, chief data analyst at mobilesquared. “Latin America is also on course to surpass North America in terms of the total number of smartphones in market during 2018.”

In 20 key markets, representing approximately 71% of total smartphones worldwide, Android OSes are forecast to raise market share by 2.5 points to 74.4% by 2018, iOS will fall 0.7 points to 20.8%, Windows will be down 0.9 point to 3.3%, with Blackberry almost disappearing and Others climbing to 1.4%.

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