The auditing and consulting company Deloitte has just published an in-depth report outlining predictions for 2012 in the areas of Technology, Media and Telecommunications.One of the main reported findings concerns an explosion of the market for smartphones costing less than $100. According to the predictions, over 500 Million of them will be in use before the end of 2012. These figures are based on the consumer definition of a smartphone, rather than the technical one. Studies reveal that users are likely to call a mobile phone a “smartphone” device if it comes equipped with a touch screen or a full keypad, as opposed to categorising the phones according to their operating system.Deloitte expects 300 million of these lower-priced smartphones to be sold in 2012, representing up to 20% of the entire mobile phone business. They cover the same market segment as netbooks, targeting users who require internet access without needing the graphics and range of functions offered by traditional laptop computers.$100 Smartphones are likely to be particularly attractive in emerging markets. They generally support e-mail and messaging, feature a camera of at least 2MP and come with a selection of pre-loaded applications and widgets.NFC (near field communications) enabled devices are also going to conquer a large share of the market. Up to 200 million of them could be sold in 2012, and the figure is likely to climb further in 2013. NFC is particularly valued for the distance payment possibilities it offers, and it opens up the door for the concept of “digital wallet” to develop.Unsurprisingly, the global demand for consumer technology will increase this year. People rarely deliberately quantify value for money at the time of purchase, but they generally are conscious of how much a mobile device will be used.Based on this criteria, consumer technology fairs particularly well: a $500 tablet will be used 350-700 hours a year, meaning the hourly cost of use can be evaluated as low as $0.70… against approximately $10 for a car! For mobile phones, the cost is even lower. With approximately 200,000 text messages being sent every second in the world, consumers are getting an excellent return on investment.