Smart device sales will pass 1.2 billion by 2013 with 821 million expected to be bought by the close of this year.
That is according to research group Gartner, who says the "consumerisation trend has hit IT as an unstoppable force", with smart devices set to account for 70% of all products sold in 2012.
Discussing the directions in mobile device technologies and management approaches at the Gartner Symposium, the company predicted further growth through 2013 and beyond.
“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,” says Carolina Milanesi, research vice president, Gartner.
“In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile."
Believing tablets to be the key accelerator to mobility, Gartner estimated that in 2012 purchases of tablets by businesses will reach 13 million units and will more than triple by 2016, to reach 53 million units.
In terms of smartphones, the company predicted that 56% of smartphones purchased by businesses in North America and Europe will be Android devices in 2016, up from 34% in 2012.
“Today the wide range of brands and price points that the Android ecosystem is offering is winning over users," Milanesi says.
"While Apple remains the heartbeat by which the market moves, Google has rapidly become its archrival.
“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 says.