New research from Gartner Inc. shows a continuing shift toward mobile devices and away from traditional PCs.

The firm says worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013, a 5 percent increase from 2012. The market is being driven by a move to lower-priced devices in nearly all device categories, the firm says.

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) are forecast to total 303 million units in 2013, down 11 percent from 2012, and the PC market, including ultramobiles, is expected to decline 8 percent in 2013.

Mobile phone shipments are projected to grow 4 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units, and tablet shipments are expected to grow 43 percent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units.

Gartner sees an opportunity for hybrid ultramobile devices that combine the functionality of a PC and the form factor of a tablet. “Users that have to balance work and play will find that the advantage of buying and carrying one device outweighs the compromise in the full experience that single devices can deliver," Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

The mobile phone market will continue to experience steady growth, Gartner predicts. Android will remain the leading device operating system, as it is on pace to account for 38 percent of shipments in 2013. The Windows OS is projected to decline 4 percent in 2013 as a result of the decline in traditional PC sales, but will return to growth in 2014 with device OS shipments increasing 10 percent.

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