Tablet PCs, smartphones' sales to grow 9 pc in 2013: Gartner

Driven by strong uptake of smartphones and tablet PCs, global sales of devices is expected to grow nine per cent to total 2.4 billion units in 2013 from 2012, research firm Gartner today said.

Device shipments are forecast to continue to grow, reaching more than 2.9 billion units in 2017, but the mix of these devices will significantly change over the forecast period, it said in a statement.

The proliferation of lower-priced tablets and their growing capability is accelerating the shift from PCs to tablets.

As a result, the traditional PC market of notebooks and desk-based units is expected to decline 7.6 per cent in 2013. This is not a temporary trend induced by a more austere economic environment, it is a reflection of a long-term change in user behaviour, Gartner said.

Beginning in 2013, ultramobiles will help offset this decline, so that sales of traditional PCs and ultramobiles combined show a 3.5 per cent decline in 2013, Gartner said.

Worldwide tablet shipments are forecast to total 197 million units in 2013, a 69.8 per cent increase from 2012 shipments of 116 million units. "Lower prices, form factor variety, cloud update and consumers' addiction to apps will be the key drivers in the tablet market," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone as users in emerging markets also increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC, Atwal added.

Smartphones are also becoming more affordable, driving adoption in emerging markets and the prepaid segment in mature markets.

Of the 1.875 billion mobile phones expected to be sold in 2013, one billion units are forecast to be smartphones, compared with 675 million smartphone units in 2012.

In the shares of operating systems (OSs) in device sales, the shift to mobile and the fight for the third ecosystem becomes more evident, according to Gartner.

In the shares of operating systems (OS) in device sales, Android continues to be the dominant OS in the device market, buoyed by strong growth in the smartphone market. Competition for the second spot will be between Apple's iOS/Mac OS and Microsoft Windows, it said.

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