Total shipments of PCs, tablets and mobiles will rise by 7.6 per cent in 2014, hitting 25 billion units by the end of the year, according to research firm Gartner.

Of that 2.5 billion, almost 75 per cent will be mobile phones, an increase of five per cent compared to 2013.

Convenience rules

The analysts at Gartner, however, expect ultramobiles – tablets and hybrids – to be the main drivers in the devices market in the coming year, growing up to 54 per cent. It predicted that smaller seven-inch tablets will become more popular than larger versions and eventually overtake them.

Ranjit Atwai, research director at Gartner, said: "The trend is not so much a move away from PCs, but towards lighter, more convenient devices, particularly tablets. With more and more people becoming mobile workers as well, the more popular devices are those that in many ways mimic their lifestyles."

PC shipments, meanwhile, including those of laptops and notebooks, are falling. Atwai, though, doesn't believe that we will ever see the end of the desktop computer. Instead, he says, it will become part of an increasingly multi-device home and work environment, where it will be used as a shared device for entertainment.

BlackBerry looking squashed

On the operating system side of things, Android will continue to be the most popular, according to predictions, with an estimated growth of 26 per cent driven by uptake in emerging markets. Windows will be the second biggest due to its position as the de-facto PC operating system. Apple and iOs systems place third while BlackBerry is the only OS that has shrunk year-on-year.

Asked if the BlackBerry operating system could disappear altogether, Atwal said it is unlikely, unless the company folds.

"A lot of organisations have a lot of BlackBerries, so it would take time to replace them all. Furthermore, some prefer using it as they find it offers greater security benefits than other platforms," he said.