2014 will be the year of Android once again, with the mobile OS on track to hit the one-billion user mark across all devices by 2014, according to market research firm Gartner Inc.

In a report released this week, Gartner noted that like last year, Android is the OS of choice across all devices, expected to reach 1.1 billion users this year. That’s a 26 per cent increase from last year, partially thanks to Android’s surging popularity in emerging markets. In fact, Gartner analysts expect three-quarters of Android’s volumes will come from those markets in three years’ time.

“There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users. Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS and Mac OS installed-base devices,” said Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

(Image: Gartner). Forecasted worldwide sales of devices by operating system. Click to enlarge.
(Image: Gartner). Forecasted worldwide sales of devices by operating system. Click to enlarge.

In a similar vein, Gartner is expecting some of the biggest gains to be made among tablet sales, with the research firm anticipating a 47 per cent jump in sales because pricing is coming down. Plus, consumers see smaller tablets as a more convenient way to stay connected when they leave home.

Still, mobile phones are still going to be the top sell among device buyers, with Gartner expecting 1.9 billion mobile phones to ship this year – a five per cent increase from 2013.

And, like last year, PC sales are going to continue to drop. In 2014, Gartner expects sales to hit about 278 million units, a seven per cent drop from 2014. Still, the company’s research shows there’s still a healthy appetite among consumers looking for ultrabooks to replace their laptops, rather than trying to use tablets in their stead.

(Image: Gartner). Gartner's forecasts for worldwide device sales by type. Click to enlarge.
(Image: Gartner). Gartner’s forecasts for worldwide device sales by type. Click to enlarge.

Essentially, consumers are looking at mixing and matching their devices, said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must-have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products,” said Atwal in a statement.

He added users are only going to continue to move away from buying PCs and notebooks as they perceive those devices to be content creation tools, in favour of picking up tablets or other lighter mobile devices for their other needs.

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