Gartner predicted that a growing number of Android smartphone users will migrate to Apple's iOS in 2015, as it forecast that mobile phones and tablets will lead growth in global device shipments during the year.
Research director Roberta Cozza noted that manufacturers of Android devices are finding it increasingly hard to differentiate their products, and predicted that a replacement cycle for iOS products begun in the final quarter of 2014 will gather pace in 2015.
"Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features," Cozza noted, adding: "Furthermore, Apple's brand clout and ecosystem--alongside the new large-screen iPhone models--are strong alternatives."
The research company predicted that mobile phone shipments will increase by 3.5 per cent year-on-year to 1.9 billion units in 2015, but noted that consumer spending is likely to level out this year as cheaper smartphone models hit the market, and mature markets approach saturation point.
"Consumers will continue to prioritise spending on phones over PCs and tablets in 2015," Cozza said.
Ultra-mobile device shipments, which Gartner said includes tablet and clamshell devices, are expected to hit 237 million units in 2015, a 4.3 per cent rise on 2014.
Despite the predicted rise, Cozza warned that an "influx of hybrids and phablets will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets," and noted that the tablet market is "nearing saturation in mature markets."
Meanwhile, currency fluctuations are likely to take their toll on PC sales in Europe through 2015, as companies increase prices to offset currency value depreciation. Globally, spending on PCs and ultra-mobile devices is tipped to fall 7.2 per cent year-on-year to $226 billion (€210 billion) in 2015.
However, Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said the PC market predictions should be taken as a sign that the market is "reshaping" rather than entering a downturn.
The research company separately predicted that the number of Internet of Things connected devices will grow from 1.1 billion devices in 2015 to 9.7 billion by 2020. Close to half (45 per cent) of all connections in 2015 will focus on smart homes and commercial buildings, with the figure set to reach 81 per cent by 2020.
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