Android will break the one billion sales barrier this year as low-priced tabs become ever more popular while PC shipments continue to fall.
Number-crunching house Gartner has predicted 1.1 billion Android devices will be sold during 2014, a 26 per cent increase over 2013.
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Android will continue to be the “OS of choice across all devices,” Gartner said in its "PC, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones Worldwide 2010-2017 4Q3 Update" on Tuesday.
However, Apple's iOS and Mac will grow the fastest of all – but only just.
Apple’s combined operating systems will see 344m units sold, a 29 per cent increase over last year.
Microsoft's Windows will be slightly ahead of Apple on total numbers, with 359 million units sold, but will lag on growth - going up 9.7 over 2013.
Not helping Microsoft will be the ongoing drop in sales of traditional PCs. Gartner forecast these would fall seven per cent to 278 million.
Tablet makers won't have it all their own way this year, though, and there's good and bad news for OEMs hoping to cash in on growth in tablets and the death of the PC as a primary computing device for consumers.
The number tablets shipped is expected grow by nearly half this year, by 47 per cent to 263 million.
Gartner reckoned 1.8bn mobile phones will be sold this year, an increase of 4.9 per cent. But Ultramobiles – which includes tablets – will take over as the main driver of growth, increasing by 54 per cent.
That’s the good news.
Growth will be driven by the tablet virgins buying their first slabs and picking machines that have a lower average selling price and aren't considered high-end by price. That’s going to mean more price pressure and a further squeeze on profits. ®