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Your smartphone will run your life | David Goldman | Oct 19, 2010

Today, one in five Americans owns a smartphone — but give it just a few more years and the gadgets will be ubiquitous.

By 2015, smartphone ownership will surpass 80% in the U.S., up from 17% of the population today, research firms Frost & Sullivan and Forrester Research estimate. Worldwide, 1 billion people will own smartphones in 2013, according to a forecast from Informa Telecoms & Media.

Smartphone sales are already outpacing those of PCs, Gartner’s research shows, and a number of analysts predict that by the end of the decade they will be the primary point people use to stay connected.

“These devices are becoming the center of our lives,” says Will Stofega, analyst at IDC. “Smartphones are bringing an immediacy and an availability of the Internet that has changed and transformed the way people access information. They’re the first thing we pick up right after our car keys, and they’re changing our behavior.”

That new connectivity wave is reshaping the tech field. A boom in hyper-personal applications opens up huge growth opportunities for new business models — and might wash out some of the industry’s current giants.

If experts’ predictions come true, the tech world could look quite different in the next five to 10 years.

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