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Shipment of mobile devices powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system will exceed one billion for the first time in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.’s annual forecast.

Gartner predicts up to 1.1 billion devices, including smart phones and tablets running the Android OS will be sold this year. That represents a 25 per cent increase from last year’s numbers, according to a report the Wall Street Journal. The projection also means that as many as 45 per cent of all new mobile devices to be sold in 2014 will be running Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) operating system, up from 38 per cent in 2013.

Overall global shipments of laptops, tablets and mobile phones are expected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, representing a 7.6 per cent increase from the previous year, according to Gartner.

Gartner predicts 1.9 billion mobile phones will ship in 2014, an increase of five per cent from 2013.

Ultraportables such as tablets, hybrids and clamshell devices will experience a 54 per cent growth rate.

Global shipments of PCs are expected to hit 278 million units in 2014, showing a decline of 7 per cent from 2013.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said smaller tablets will take over larger tablets and compete against hybrid devices as they offer user “added mobility at a lower cost.”

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also closing in on Apple Inc., the research firm said.

About 360 million devices running the Windows mobile OS will be sold this year, compared to 344 million devices running Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS and Mac OS that are expected to be sold in 2014.

Annette Zimmerman, an analyst for Gartner said noted there appears to be a “volume-versus-value” equation behind the numbers. She said Android users snap up lower –cost devices compared to buyer purchasing Apple devices.

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