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Android Growth Eclipsing Microsoft Windows and Apple OSes

The worldwide market share for the Android operating system will exceed one billion shipments this year, according to projections released on Tuesday by Gartner Inc.

Gartner's announcement described Android as "the OS choice across all devices," forecasting that 1.1 billion copies of the Linux-based OS will be in use this year. The projected 2014 Android shipments will be up 26 percent compared with the 877,885,000 Android units that were shipped in 2013, according to Gartner.

Microsoft's Windows OS will be the next runner up, followed by Apple's iOS and Mac OS, over the next two years, according to Gartner's stats (see chart).

Global operating system market share based on device shipments. Source: Gartner Inc.

Gartner's stats actually showed a decline in Windows shipments happening in 2013 compared with the prior year. For instance, in 2012, there were 346,272,000 Windows units shipped vs. 327,956,000 units shipped in 2013. However, Gartner is projecting future growth for Windows shipments, rising to 359,855,000 units in 2014 and to 422,726,000 units in 2015.

Gartner also provided stats for the RIM OS and Google Chrome OS. RIM OS shipments will decrease from 34,581,000 units shipped in 2012 to a projected 10,597,000 units shipped in 2015. In contrast, the Google Chrome OS is on the rise. Chrome OS shipments are expected to increase from 185,000 units shipped in 2012 to a forecasted 8 million units shipped in 2015.

Of course, OSes are tied to hardware. Gartner provides both OS and hardware shipment projections in its publication, "Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles, and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 4Q13 Update." The Stamford, Conn.-based research and consulting firm expects to see 2.5 billion computing devices shipped in 2014, up 7.6 percent compared with 2013 device shipments.

In general, PCs shipments are following a relatively flat trend over the next two years. Gartner is forecasting a 0.2 percent growth rate for PCs in 2014, up from a 9.9 percent decline that happened in 2013. Mobile phones are the most shipped devices, but tablets are showing the most growth promise, per Gartner. In 2014, tablets will demonstrate a 47 percent growth rate, according to Gartner's projections.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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