Android Devices to surpass Windows by 2016
If the changing face of computing wasn't already abundantly clear, a study released Wednesday by research firm Gartner underscores the potential for growth in the smartphone and tablet marketplace. The study claims that Android could surpass Windows as the most used operating system as soon as 2016. The firm estimates that by the end of 2016 there will be 2.3 billion devices (smartphones, tablets and computers) using Android with only 2.28 billion using Windows. For comparison, estimates for the end of this year indicate there are 1.5 billion Windows devices with 608 million using Android. It is especially remarkable as Android was only released in 2008 while Microsoft's Windows has been the dominant operating system on desktops for decades.
The shift can be explained by the changing landscape in the device market. Windows does control the desktop segment, but desktop computer sales were down 8% in the third quarter the first time since 2001. In contrast, smartphones and tablet use has been exploding. While Microsoft has been slow out of the gate, Android got its start on the newer device types currently controlling about 2/3 of the smartphone market and is number two in tablets only four years after release. The technology sector is very volatile and a lot can happen in four years though. Microsoft, sensing the changes in the marketplace is set to release its Windows 8, RT, and Phone 8 operating systems. These systems are built around the touchscreen and should allow improved interoperability and a seamless transition between all devices.