Overall smartphone shipments rose by 47% to 690 million units in 2012.
Global shipments of smartphones powered by quad-core application processors reached 40 million units in 2012, according to a new report from Berg Insight.
During the year, the overall smartphone shipments rose by 47% to 690 million units, rising from 470 million units shipped in 2011, the report said.
The rise was mainly attributed to high-end smartphones with unsubsidised retail prices above €400 and low-cost devices priced at around €100 and lower.
The report revealed that sales of high-end devices reached 250 million units in 2012, up from about 150 million units in 2011.
Berg Insight anticipates that the majority of the growth will be generated by low-cost smartphones priced below € 100, followed by mid-range handsets.
According to the research firm, dual-core smartphone sales also increased during the forecast period, reaching 250 million units, a rise from 70 million units during 2011.
Berg Insight senior analyst, André Malm, said: "It becomes more difficult for consumers to make comparisons between handsets when application processor vendors introduce SoCs based on different CPU architectures and core counts, each with different performance depending on specific workload."
By 2017, Berg Insight anticipates that about 1.5 billion smartphones will be sold and they will be incorporated with at least dual-core processors, with majority featuring quad-core processors.