One billion Android devices to ship in 2014

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One billion Android devices to ship in 2014

Android is by far the most used operating system across tech devices, and its use is set to double, with one billion unit shipped in 2014.

Statistics from analyst Gartner showed Android clearly dominates the tech device market - which includes everything from mobile phones to desktop PCs - with the most connected gadgets running on the Google OS by a considerable margin, followed respectively by Microsoft and Apple's OSes.

Those rankings aren't expected to change over the next two years, though Android will more than double the number of devices it runs to more than one billion - mostly thanks to mobile phones - and the combination of iOS and OS X will start to catch up with Windows, Gartner predicts.

"Although the numbers seem to paint a clear picture of who the winner will be when it comes to operating systems in the device market, the reality is that today ecosystem owners are challenged in having the same relevance in all segments," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

"Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across all device segments, while 90% of Android sales are currently in the mobile phone market and 85% of Microsoft sales are in the PC market."

Struggling PCs

While Android's success may remain limited to tablets and phones, those remain the markets with the most growth, Gartner said. Tablet sales will double by 2014, while "ultramobile" laptops will quadruple.

The laptop and desktop market continues to struggle, but the ever-changing computing market is starting to throw up challenges for Apple and others.

Gartner said sales of standard laptops and desktop PCs would decline 10.6% from last year to 305 million shipped globally this year, but that doesn't include so-called "ultramobiles". Including devices such as Ultrabooks, sales would slip by 7.3%.

Tablets continue to grow at a steady rate, up 68% on year to 202 million this year.

Mobile phone growth is steady at 4.3% and volumes of a whopping 1.8 billion units.

Gartner predicted that ultramobile laptops - which it says includes Ultrabooks as well as Chromebooks - will eat away at demand for top-end tablets, helped by new chips such as Intel Haswell, and the Windows 8.1 update. "Although these devices will only marginally help overall sales volumes initially, they are expected to help vendors increase average selling prices (ASPs) and margins," Gartner predicted.

Sales of premium tablets, such as the iPad, are also being hit by smaller, cheaper tablets such as the iPad mini, which has already nabbed 60% of iOS sales in the first quarter.

"The increased availability of lower priced basic tablets, plus the value add shifting to software rather than hardware will result in the lifetimes of premium tablets extending as they remain active in the household for longer," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "We will also see consumer preferences split between basic tablets and ultramobile devices."

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