Around here, we’ve always thought Android has the potential to one day power most of the world’s computing devices, but from the outside that’s also been quite hard to believe (maybe because they didn’t want to believe it). Gartner is starting to confirm some of those predictions, saying that Android will run on 1.1 billion devices out of 2.5 billion in total in 2014 (1.9 billion of which will be smartphones), and that its share of the market will keep growing, too, over the next few years. Speaking of Android running on laptops, ASUS and Intel are already pushing this forward.
Some quick math shows that means Android activations will be up to a whooping 3 million every day this year, which is double what it was last year. Why so many every day? Because not only have the smartphone and tablet markets grown, which means the same percentage of market share would mean more units this year, but Android has also been starting to grow aggressively in terms of market share, too, in tablets, and more recently even in PCs.
Gartner does say, however, that while the total computing market has grown by 7.6% since a year ago, the notebook and PC market itself has been shrinking, and it will decline to 278 million units from almost 300 million units a year before. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be any improvement either, and it will keep declining going into 2015.
Since there has been growth for the whole computing market, but PCs have declined in numbers, that means smartphones and tablets grew that much more to compensate, and that’s the market where Android is the strongest right now, which means the bigger these two markets become, the bigger Android will become, while Windows will continue to be a fast declining choice for most consumers.
Android should also reach a total user base of almost 2 billion in 2014 (1.9 billion, to be exact), which is 3 times what Apple with have with iOS and Mac(682 million), and finally a good reason for developers to start developing first for Android. If it hasn’t been obvious so far that this is the way to go, then it’s going to become obvious in 2014, as Android far outmatches Apple’s market share.
This is all very exciting for Android, but I don’t think it’s even close to reaching its peak yet. Perhaps it’s getting closer to doing that in the smartphone (over 80 percent) and tablet (only 60 percent, still a way to go) markets, but it’s only very early days for things like PCs (still an opportunity for growth for Android, even if it’s not for Windows, since its Windows’ market share to lose), wearables, cars, and who knows what other consumer electronics it will be put on in the next few years.
Eventually, Android could be running on 10 billion or more devices, if we consider the “Internet of things”, home automation and so on. So Android is definitely the platform to be watching over the next few years.