Some 821m smart devices will be bought worldwide this year, accounting for 70pc of total devices sold in 2012, and the number of smart devices sold in 2013 will exceed the 1bn mark, Gartner Inc reports.
Smart devices include smartphones and tablet computers, and the surge in sales can be attributed to the consumerisation of IT, according to Gartner.
“For most businesses, smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner.
“In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40pc of the workforce will be mobile,” Milanesi added.
Tablets will be the key accelerator to mobility, said Gartner, which estimated that in 2012 purchases of tablets by businesses will reach 13m units and will more than triple by 2016, to reach 53m units.
The number of smartphones sold running on the Android operating system is expected to rise, as well. Gartner estimated that 56pc of smartphones purchased by businesses in Europe and North America will be Android devices in 2016, up from 34pc in 2012 and virtually no penetration in 2010.
“Today the wide range of brands and price points that the Android ecosystem is offering is winning over users. While Apple remains the heartbeat by which the market moves, Google has rapidly become its archrival,” said Milanesi.
In the business market, Windows 8 will rank third in the tablet market behind Apple and Android by 2016, with business expressing more interest than consumers.
Tablets and convertibles will be the way into businesses for Windows 8. Gartner estimated that the share of Windows 8 tablets and ultramobiles in businesses will reach 39pc in 2016.