Android will expand to more than 1 billion devices worldwide in 2014 as the Google platform builds on its operating system dominance, according to a new Gartner forecast. The analysis projects shipments of PCs and what Gartner calls ultramobiles—tablets, hybrid tablet/PC devices and clamshell notebooks—will reach 2.5 billion units this year, up 7.6% from 2013.
Tablets will maintain healthy growth, with shipments expected to rise 47% in 2014 to 263.4 million on lower average selling prices. The technology research firm asserts tablets are becoming a ubiquitous device like smartphones. Over two-thirds of tablets were used outside the house across countries including the U.S., U.K., Brazil, China and Germany, according to a Gartner third-quarter survey.
But the shift from full-size to 7-inch tablets will continue. "Complimentary smaller tablets will take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and will compete with hybrids for consumer attention," stated Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
“Other” ultramobiles, like 2-in-1 hybrids, are predicted to enjoy the biggest gains, as shipments more than double from a much smaller base of about 17 million to nearly 40 million.
Mobile phones will again account for the vast majority of all device shipments, at 1.9 billion in 2014, up 5% from last year. Waning demand for traditional PCs means shipment will fall 7% in that market to 278 million units this year, with a further decline to 268 million in 2015.
Underscoring the ascent of mobile at the PC’s expense is Android, which will run on 1.1 billion devices this year, up 26% from 878,000 in 2013. By 2015, Android is forecast to extend to 1.25 billion devices. Garnter analyst Annette Zimmerman pointed out there is a “volume versus value equation” with the Google OS, with users buying cheaper phones compared to iPhone owners.
The research firm predicts that three-quarters of Android’s volume by 2015 will come from emerging markets, driving demand for lower-cost handsets. Windows this year will again be the second most common OS across devices, with 360 million units shipped with the Microsoft platform, followed closely by Apple’s iOS/Mac OS, at 344 million.