ULTRAMOBILE YEAR AHEAD: Gartner has updated its annual device forecasts for PCs, tablets, and mobile phones for the new year. On the whole, the research outfit thinks sales of all of these devices combined will grow by just over 7% in 2014, which would be a re-acceleration in growth compared to the 4% growth achieved between 2012 and 2013.
Mobile phones, both feature phones and smartphones, will dominate in terms of sales volume, with expected annual sales of almost 1.9 billion. But it will be the "ultramobiles" category, in which Gartner includes tablets, hybrids, and flip-form devices, that will set the pace for growth, with increased sales of nearly 54% during the year. We feel this is a function of growing demand for "phablets," or devices that carry a screen size somewhere between the standard 5-inch smartphone and the 8-inch tablet. Phablet shipments have already skyrocketed in key markets for mobile growth like China and India. PC sales, meanwhile, will continue to be hampered by the mobile movement. Gartner thinks PC sales will decline 7% in 2014.
ONE BILLION ANDROID DEVICES! If 2013 was the watershed year for Android in terms of market share, then 2014 will be the year Android solidifies its stronghold on the global mobile market. Gartner estimates Android will sell 1.1 billion devices for the year. They also confirm that Android blows past Apple in terms of installed base, with 1.9 billion active Android devices already in use. With slowing growth in mobile uptake in developed markets, expect Android to make massive waves with new, lower-income users in emerging mobile markets, where most new customers are priced out of the premium device market dominated by Apple. (Gartner)