San Francisco — After a decade of sizzling growth, the smartphone market has suddenly cooled. Surveys show smartphone sales last year shrank slightly for the first time since the 2007 debut of the iPhone, and preliminary data this year suggest further deceleration. Analysts say several factors have hit the smartphone market, including the lack of new features that wow consumers, people keeping their devices longer and the saturation of key markets — including China— which had been driving growth. "The market has peaked, that is the bottom line," said Bob O’Donnell, analyst and consultant at TECHnalysis Research. "It is for sure not the death of the smartphone; it is the death of the growth of the smartphone market." The smartphone market began to hit saturation in 2016 much the way the tablet and personal computer markets did years earlier. "It doesn’t mean it is not a strong market — it is a huge market — but it means vendors have to think differently," O’Donnell told AFP. Shrewd c...

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