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Expanding cell phone market

A major question is in play for the major players in the smartphone industry: how to grow the business?

In this Aug. 15, 2013 photo, Nokia's Lumia 925 phone is shown at the flagship store of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia in Helsinki, Finland. Microsoft Corp. is buying Nokia Corp.'s devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market, the companies announced late Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Mikko Stig) FINLAND OUT

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - A major question is in play for the major players in the smartphone industry: how to grow the business?

The problem is that many of the key markets most companies serve have either become saturated - or getting close to it - when it comes to people who want smartphones.

Now services ranging from Facebook to Firefox are looking into emerging markets to find out where their next few billion customers will come from.

Among the areas of growth being considered are densely populated lands like India and China - as well as Latin America, Africa and anywhere else where there are would-be customers.

The other side of the expansion coin is money; smartphone makers know most of the world can't afford such pricey gadgets the way people who live in the U.S. and elsewhere can.

And the trick will be how to make such phones available in less-affluent lands without eating into profits.


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