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Worldwide tablet shipments are expected to reach 270.7 million units in 2014, a 38.6 percent gain over last year's figures (195.4 million tablets shipped), according to a new forecast from Gartner. By 2015, tablet shipments are expected to reach 349.1 units.
The market research firm expects much of that growth to come from markets other than North America. Observing that tablet adoption "has been largely concentrated in the U.S., with the dominance of Apple," Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said in a statement that new types of devices are changing how, and where, users buy their tablets.
"Market dynamics in other regions are different, as the uptake of lower cost, smaller, non-branded tablets, becomes more apparent," said Atwal.
The PC market, meanwhile, will continue to dip. Gartner forecasts that shipments will fall 6.6 percent this year to 276.7 million units from 296.1 million in 2013. Next year, PC shipments are expected to decline even further, to 263 million units.
After upending the computing device market during the past few years, tablets are starting to settle into place, indicated Atwal. "Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern," he stated.
"As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices," added Atwal.
Mobile phone shipments will reach nearly 1.9 billion in 2014, a 4.9 percent gain compared to 2013 (1.8 billion units), and hit 1.95 billion by 2015. This year's growth "is projected to come from the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market," stated the company.
All told, worldwide device shipments (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are expected to reach nearly 2.5 billion in 2014, a 6.9 percent jump from 2013. Gartner also predicts that Google will cross a big milestone this year.
"Google's objective is to increase Android's footprint, and it is still on target to sell over one billion devices during 2014," stated the research firm. Over 1.1 billion of those devices this year will feature the Android OS, followed by Windows (339 million devices) and iOS/Mac (286 million). In 2015, Android is expected to power just over half (1.35 billion devices) of the 2.6 billion devices that are projected to ship that year.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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