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Report: As PC Shipments Continue To Lag, Android Dominates

Global device shipments will improve 6.9 percent over the previous year to reach 4.8 billion units in 2014, according to a new report from market research form Gartner. That forecast is a little more than two points higher than the 4.8 percent growth the sector experienced last year and is slowed overall by the company's projection of a continuing decline in PC sales.

Traditional PCs, which includes both desktops and notebooks in Gartner's analysis, is the only segment the company projects to decline from 2013 to 2014, dropping from 296.1 million shipments to 276.7 million. The company expects that decline to continue into 2015, projecting just 263 million units to sell next year.

"The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "The majority of the remaining one-third will move to ultramobiles, while others will not be replaced at all."

Tablets will show the most growth at 38.6 percent, according to Gartner, rising to 270.4 million shipments this year as compared to 195.4 in 2013. Looking ahead to 2015, the company predicts that tablets will overtake PCs for the first time, on the strength of 349.1 million device sales.

Most of the growth in tablets will take place outside the United States.

"The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category," added Ranjit Atwal. "The majority of the remaining one-third will move to ultramobiles, while others will not be replaced at all."

Mobile phone sales will improve 4.9 percent, according to the company, moving nearly 90 million more units than in 2013 to approach 1.9 billion sales this year. Gartner expects growth to slow slightly in 2015 and reach nearly 2 billion.

Mobile phone growth this year "is projected to come from the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market," according to a company news release.

"While the lack of compelling hardware innovation marginally extended replacement cycles in 2013, we've witnessed an upgrade path in the emerging markets," said Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe have all upgraded their phones, which will help to compensate for mature market weakness in the near term."

Other ultrarmobiles, which include devices such as clamshells and notebooks, will add 16.1 million sales over the previous year to hit about 37 million units before growing rapidly in 2015 to ship a projected 62 million devices.

Google's Android, on track to top 1.1 billion shipments in 2014, remains the market leader among operating systems by a large margin, more than triple the number of units powered by its nearest rival. That dominance will continue into 2015, if Gartner's forecast holds true, reaching more than 1.3 billion shipments.

The number two operating system by market share, Windows, is expected by Gartner to move 339.1 million units this year, up from 325.1 last year. The OS will continue to improve its numbers in 2015 as it ships more than 379 million units.

iOS and Mac OS will also show improvement this year and next. Apple's operating systems were installed on 241.4 million devices sold last year and will be found on 286.4 million and 324.5 million new devices sold in 2014 and 2015, respectively, according to Gartner.

New device shipments with other operating systems are expected to decline from 873.2 million in 2013 to 565.2 million in 2015.

To se the full report, visit gartner.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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