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Hey Tech Vendors: Smartphones Are Eating Your Supper

Handsets sucked up 59% of all tech spending last year

In its relatively short lifetime, the smartphone has established itself as a category killer, devouring MP3 players, GPS devices and digital imaging, and taking aim at gaming as Google and Apple spread their wireless wings.

Now, in the era of the $1,000 and even $2,000 smartphone, comes statistical evidence from the folks at Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest mobile tech show, that handsets are sucking the life out of the consumer tech sector.

See: 7 Mobile Companies That Dominated The Bandwidth Last Year

According to the trade show’s producers, fully 59 percent of all global spending on consumer tech was diverted to smartphones in 2018. While the figure sounds staggering, MWC asks us to consider that:

  • more time is spent online via handheld devices than computers worldwide;
  • more searches are performed by handheld devices than computers; and
  • Android, rather than Windows, is the dominant global operating system.

And all signs point to an escalation of the trend, as 5G ushers in a new wave of purchasing — with sales of 1.5 billion 5G smartphones projected for 2025 — and AI pushes the boundaries of tech engineering and consumer empowerment. As MWC notes, a current $1,000 smartphone already has more raw computing brawn than IBM’s $100 million Deep Blue supercomputer from 1997.

The MWC19 show runs Feb. 25-28 at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.