Tablets and smartphones are continuing to grow in popularity, new research has revealed.
A report from Canalys has predicted shipments of tablets will be greater than PC and laptops combined in 2014. The devices already accounted for 40 per cent of total PC shipments this year and the report forecast 285 million units will enter the global market in 2014, before growing to 396 million in 2017.
Canalys said it believes Apple and Samsung to remain the dominant forces in the tablet market, but both could face increased competition in the coming years. The former is currently the top vendor in the sector and the launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini is expected to help it protect this position in the short term.
Microsoft is forecast to develop a growing share of the tablet market, rising from two per cent in 2012 to five per cent in 2014. Canalys said the company's progression has been aided by its acquisition of Nokia.
With more tablets set to be in use, there is likely to be increased demand for reliable broadband connections across the UK, as people look to make the most of their devices. The same can be said for smartphones, which is a market that is also expected to see significant growth.
Figures published by the International Data Corporation (IDC) have forecast global smartphone shipments will have surpassed one billion units by the end of this year, which would represent a rise of 39.3 per cent on 2012. The organisation said it expects shipments to have reached 1.7 billion by 2017.
Ryan Reith of IDC commented: "Just a few years back the industry was talking about the next billion people to connect, and it was assumed the majority of these people would do so by way of the feature phone … smartphones are now a very realistic option to connect those billion users."
The organisation predicted smartphone prices will drop over the next four years, making the devices more accessible.