Android to push past the one billion shipment mark in 2014

Ultramobiles and tablets will be the big growth areas in device shipments in 2014, as figures for Android units pass one billion for the first time in a single year.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

The Android operating system will reach 1.1 billion users this year across all device types, a jump of 26 percent over the 2013 shipments figure, according to Gartner.

But the analyst firm is actually predicting a larger percentage increase for iOS and Mac OS devices, up 29 percent from 267 million devices shipped in 2013 to a projected 344 million in 2014.

"There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared with Apple users," Gartner principal analyst Annette Zimmerman said in a statement.

"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," she said.

Worldwide device shipments by operating system

Operating system 2012 2013 2014 2015
Android 504 million 878 million 1.1 billion 1.25 billion
Windows 346 million 328 million 360 million 423 million
iOS and Mac OS 214 million 267 million 344 million 397 million
RIM 35 million 24 million 15 million 11 million
Chrome 185,000 1.8 million 4.7 million 8 million
Others 1.1 billion 802 million 648 million 529 million
Total 2.22 billion 2.3 billion 2.47 billion 2.62 billion

Source: Gartner December 2013

Gartner assumes that some Android devices shipped in previous years will no longer be in use by the end of 2014, which is why the figure of 1.9 billion for the installed base is not a sum of past shipments.

More than 75 percent of Android shipments will come from emerging markets by 2017, according to Gartner.

Microsoft Windows-based units — desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones — lie in second place after Android and account for more devices than the Apple OSes in third place.

However, Windows device shipments will experience a smaller increase than their two principal rivals, up almost 10 percent on 2013 from 328 million devices to 360 million.

Shipments of traditional desktop and laptop PCs will continue to decline this year, with Gartner forecasting a figure of 278 million units, down seven percent on 2013.

But if Windows ultramobiles are included in the figures, the overall PC market is expected to remain flat this year, with a 0.2 percent rise, against a fall of 9.9 percent in 2013.

At the other end of the scale, mobile phone shipments are forecast to hit 1.9 billion devices in 2014. However, growth in that sector will be a modest five percent increase on 2013.

Worldwide device shipments by segment

Device type 2012 2013 2014 2015
PC desktops and laptops 341 million 299 million 278 million 268 million
Tablets 120 million 180 million 263 million 325 million
Mobile phones 1.75 billion 1.8 billion 1.89 billion 1.96 billion
Other ultramobiles 9.3 million 17 million 40 million 64 million
Total 2.22 billion 2.3 billion 2.47 billion 2.62 billion

Source: Gartner December 2013

The device types that will be fuelling growth in the overall picture of 2.5 billion device shipments are ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells. Gartner is predicting a rise in shipments of 54 percent for these types of units compared with last year.

With lower average selling prices attracting new buyers, the picture painted by Gartner for tablets alone is healthy, with a forecast of 47 percent growth with shipments of 180 million units last year, rising to 263 million in 2014.

"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," Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said in a statement.

"Meanwhile users continue to move away from the traditional PC as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different demands."

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