Despite TI’s (predictable) retreat from the mobile processor market, the industry’s future still looks rosy, with Qualcomm, Samsung, NVIDIA and Intel all ready to battle it out for a place in our hearts.

But how much further can the mobile market be pushed in a world with seven billion people and six billion subscriptions? A whole lot, according to Qualcomm, who’s predicting a whopping 5 billion smartphones to be sold between 2012 and 2016.

Not impressed? How about if I were to tell you that only 1 billion smartphones were in use in Q3 2012? Now think about a world where that number would be multiplied five times in only four years. Of course, Qualcomm mentioned nothing about the number of smartphones in use in 2016, but we should still expect the 1 billion from now to double or treble.

Qualcomm also thinks that 650 million tablets and laptops will be sold in 2016 alone, and, while we have no idea where they got their numbers, this is a respected company that we don’t think would ever pull outlandish figures out of its officials’ behinds. What do you guys think? Is it even physically possible for that many smartphones to be sold in such a short time frame?