Smartphone usage numbers in Asia are projected to increase dramatically from 2011 to 2016, according to a recent Ericsson ConsumerLab study on prepaid smartphone growth in the region. Moreover, the emergence of low-cost, mass market smartphones is expected to add extra stimulus towards mobile adoption.

In the report, when asked to indicate the factors that influenced their smartphone usage, the highest number of respondents in Singapore indicated text messaging (92%), followed by browsing the Internet (82%), and emails (75%). In Malaysia, text messaging is also first (91%) and is followed by social network (69%) and voice calls (67%). Text messaging snags the top spot in Indonesia (92%), and is followed by making voice calls (71%) and social network (57%).

Figure A shows the current percentage of operating systems used by the various countries in the region. In Singapore, iOS has a pole position at 46%, followed by Android at 29%. In Malaysia and New Zealand though, the Android OS has a significantly larger lead at 41% and 6% respectively. The BlackBerry OS has a leading position in Indonesia and Thailand. The adoption of Windows Phone is below 9% in all of the countries listed. For all the hype over the iPhone and iPad, it is interesting to note that the Android platform has an overall lead over iOS.
Figure A

Current operating systems

Note: The report does not address instances of users having more than one smartphone.

My predictions

A shakeup is on its way with Windows Phone 8 due for release later this year and a completely rewritten BlackBerry 10 OS in January 2013. There are rumors of the iPhone 5 will be announced in September 2012 and incorporate a larger display. Based on these factors, I expect to see considerable changes in next year’s report from Ericsson.