A report surfaced Tuesday that suggests we will soon pass the one billion smartphone mark on Ye Olde Planet Earth.

In other breathlessly breaking news, Facebook will top two billion users, probably three years from now. Google’s website index will reach a trillion webpages, about two decades from now. And the sun will likely go nova, if we’re still here in a few billion years.

Well, OK, it is kind of a big deal.

One billion smartphones means one in seven people on the globe have a mobile device that can access the Internet, use apps, communicate with others, and generally act as a small, mobile computer. That’s cool. That’s big. And, yes, it is a massive milestone.

But — without quibbling about what, exactly qualifies as a smartphone — it hasn’t precisely happened just yet. As the story says:

“Research firm Strategy Analytics has boldly stated that the smartphone market has burgeoned enough in the past two years to reach the 1 billion milestone mark during the current third quarter.”


“In the current quarter, the research firm believes that figure could rise to 1 billion.”

“Boldly stated” is bang-on. Note the creative use of time: Has stated (past), has burgeoned (past), past two years (past), to reach (present), (in the current quarter (present), during the current third quarter (mostly future), and could rise (future).

In other words, this is a pre-announcement. Hold on to your hats. Stay seated. It is going to happen, and it is a big deal. But not quite yet. According to the facts in the story, the most recent historical number is 959 million, which the market reached last quarter after 16 years of smartphones sold.

That’s already pretty momentous … and suspiciously close in time, if not space, to Facebook’s big billion-user announcement.

The next billion smartphone sales, the firm estimates, will only take three years.

photo credit: reflexer via photopin cc