Android to overtake Windows in 2016, says Gartner

Summary:Gartner says the world's most popular desktop operating system will be relegated to second place as the world's most popular mobile operating system takes over. But no rush: 2016 is when it's mean to happen.

By the end of 2016, there will be 2.3 billion computers, tablets and smartphones running Android, and only 2.28 billion Windows-powered devices, says research firm Gartner.

(Now, it's worth mentioning that Gartner's analysis doesn't always match up with... reality . Its predictive figures are relatively spot on and in line with other research firms, however.)

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But there's no rush. As PC shipments decline in the run up to the next-generation Windows 8 operating system, it comes as no surprise as the rise of the post-PC device segment. Tablets to smartphones versus the traditional PC and notebook. 

Gartner says that by the end of this year there will be 1.5 billion Windows devices and 608 million devices using Android. Let's compare this to the figures we already know about.

Windows' market share currently stands at 44 percent as of September, according to Net Applications

In June, Microsoft said it had sold more than 600 million copies of Windows 7. Bump this by a month and the numbers will be about the same, if not slightly higher, because in July both Windows 7 and Windows XP were level pegging at 42 percent, according to the usage analytics tool. Ergo, 600 million copies of Windows 7 meant about the same number of copies for Windows XP. Double the number, and we're looking at 1.2 billion copies of Windows 7 and XP alone, not including Windows Server or Windows Vista, or other versions.

Android's market share currently stands at 17.4 percent, again according to Net Applications, but this only includes Android 2.3 and Android 4.0, the two most popular versions of Android currently on supported phones.

Breaking down the figures and using similar logic, Android currently stands at more than 500 million from September, according to Google, with more than 1.3 million new activations per day. Breaking out the calculator and seventh grade math, that's about 554.6 million activations of Android devices currently on the market.

By 2016, it's likely that the post-PC market will include devices of all ranges -- smartphones will be indistinguishable from tablets and tablets will be commonplace, while a PC is a relic of the early-21st century. But that's another discussion altogether and one for another time -- if it hadn't already been done to death.

And even then, by 2016 we may only be figments of the ether's imagination if those crafty Mayan's get their way

Topics: Android, Big Data, Smartphones, Tablets, Windows

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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