Gartner: Smartphone, tablet sales to top 1.2B in 2013

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Gartner expects the number of smartphones and tablets purchased to jump from 821 million in 2012 to 1.2 billion in 2013 as more of those devices invade workplaces around the globe.

The predicted jump in sales of smartphones and tablets is broadly consistent with forecasts from other research firms, and suggests that the consumerization of IT is going to have a major impact on how device sales perform in the years ahead. Gartner predicts that "smart devices" (smartphones and tablets) will account for 70 percent of total devices sold in 2012.

"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," Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said in a statement.

According to Gartner, 56 percent of smartphones purchased by businesses in North America and Europe will be Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices in 2016, up from 34 percent in 2012 and virtually no penetration in 2010. Gartner thinks the increasing penetration of Android in the enterprise will continue to pose challenges for IT departments and CIOs who want to ensure security and manageability. The growth of Android will also continue to pose a challenge for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), which has traditionally focused on business users.

"As businesses are looking for a multi-device strategy and a rich application portfolio it is clear that RIM has a huge challenge ahead in regaining its key presence in the enterprise," Milanesi said.

Separately, adoption of smartphones running Android is increasing six times faster than adoption of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iPhone, up from 4x in May 2012, according to new data from KPCB partner Mary Meeker.

Gartner's view of rising smartphone sales is broadly consistent with that of other research firms. The number of smartphones in use worldwide crossed the 1 billion-unit threshold for the first time during the third quarter, according to a recent report from research firm Strategy Analytics. Strategy Analytics expects the number of smartphones in use globally to top 2 billion in 2015.

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