According to The State of Mobile Apps | Nielsen Wire 21% of American wireless subscribers have a smartphone at Q4 2009, up from 19% in the previous quarter and significantly higher than the 14% at the end of 2008.
A previous Comscore survey showed US smartphone penetration at about 17%.
If we were to blend the data to a rough estimate, I would say it’s fair to assume 20% penetration. The total number of subscribers in the US is about 234 million, which makes for 46.8 million smartphone users.
This still leaves 80% or 187.2 million non-smartphone users.
The share gain of 6%/yr. means another 1.2 million Americans are switching into a smartphone every month. Another decade and the non-smartphone market will simply be gone.
With AT&T lowering the barriers of entry with data plan pricing and with other operators matching, don’t be surprised if it happens sooner.
As saturation begins around 50% to 60% penetration, price competition will intensify. That takes the tipping point to about 2013.