By: Michael Epstein
According to IT research advisers Gartner, Inc., worldwide shipments of devices (including traditional PCs, ultramobiles, tablets, and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion combined units in 2014, which is a 7.6 percent increase from 2013. Ultramobile and tablet sales are expected to grow 54 percent this year, but PCs will decline by 7 percent, continuing to show a decline in their popularity versus mobile computing. Wearable computing, smart televisions and smart cars were not included in Gartner's projected sales, however.
Included in mobile growth, the Android OS is expected to reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, a 26 percent increase from 2013, making it the fastest growing OS of choice across all devices. This growth is partly due to Android users purchasing more lower-cost devices than Apple users do. In 2014, Android will account for nearly 45 percent of all device shipments, compared to 38 percent in 2013. In 2015, Gartner is predicting that number will rise to 48 percent. Apple accounts for only about 13 percent of projected combined sales across both iOS and Mac OS devices in 2014, and 15 percent in 2015.
Among existing device owners, Android clocked 1.9 billion devices in use in 2013, while Apple had 682 million. This booming ecosystem means that Android users are likely to invest in the company further as repeat customers. As the market becomes saturated, brand loyalty will be the key to retaining a market share.
It is projected that in the coming years, Android's mobile devices are also going to be leading the way in developing countries. By 2017, Gartner projects that over 75 percent of Android's volumes will come from emerging markets. Cheaper smartphones ($100 and less) are becoming the norm for late-adopters of the technology in China, and while that market becomes saturated, they are also moving on to buying tablets and other ultramobile devices.
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