More than 100 million 4G LTE mobile devices shipped in 2012, says ABI

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An estimated 103 million 4G LTE mobile devices were shipped in 2012, fueled by the popularity of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, according to the latest stats from ABI Research.

Of the 103 million devices, 91 million units were LTE-enabled smartphones, with the balance coming from other mobile devices, such as LTE USB dongles and LTE-enabled tablets.

"New sign-ups and conversion of 3G subscribers with LTE-capable handsets should gather pace in 2013 and 2014. By 2017, we are anticipating 785 million LTE subscribers, up from 58 million at the end of 2012, generating $14 billion in annual service revenues," said Phil Solis, research director at ABI.

ABI also found that over one billion cameras were shipped in smartphones and tablets during 2012. The research firm predicts that 2.7 billion cameras will be shipped in mobile devices in 2018.

Smartphones account for 80 percent of camera shipments, according to ABI. More smartphones will include front-facing cameras as video calling becomes more common and the implementation of LTE network infrastructure in more countries further boosts the demand for smartphones with these front-facing cameras.

" Mobile device cameras are becoming more than just a digital camera for taking snapshots of your kids and pet. New services like augmented reality and gesture recognition are now easily conceivable in mobile devices," said ABI senior analyst Josh Flood.

Flood predicts that 230 million smartphones will be shipped with gesture recognition in 2015. However, several challenges remain for gesture recognition technology for mobile devices, including effectiveness of the technology in adverse light conditions, variations in the background, and high power consumption. However, Flood explained that these problems can be overcome with different tracking solutions and new technologies

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