|In 2016, Gartner estimates that the installed base of devices will total 7.8 billion units (including wearables, phones, tablets and PCs), reaching 8.3 billion units in 2018.|
Across a mix of "main" and "niche" devices, Gartner expects mature market users to use three to four personal devices.
Main devices will include smartphones, tablets, convertibles (two-in-one devices) and notebooks, and will contribute to more than two devices per person at any time, with niche devices to include a growing range of wearables, such as smartwatches, health bands and smart glasses, along with new types of connected devices, such as smart cards, e-readers and portable cameras.
"The combination of the high level of adoption of technology, the availability of faster networks, and decision making becoming increasingly dependent on real-time information, will undoubtedly lead to more devices per user," Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director, commented.
Additional Gartner predictions include that by 2018 at least one non-traditional phone maker will be among the top five smartphone brands in China, with the smartphone segment becoming increasingly complex and competitive.
"The smartphone market will become more fluid and will allow new players to enter it," CK Lu, Gartner principal research analyst, commented. "The entrance of Chinese internet companies will put further pressure on traditional smartphone vendors, who will be forced to innovate beyond hardware in order to stay in the game."
Further, by 2019, 20 per cent of personal devices are forecast to record emotions used to create individual responses or crowdsourced analysis by the system. This will represent "the next frontier for personal devices", according to Gartner research director Annette Zimmermann.
With wearables poised to reach 1.1 billion units by 2019, devices tracking personal health and fitness are set to become more accurate, allowing users to better track their physical and mental health.
Gartner additionally expects that one-third of PC users will use speech or gestures to issue commands by 2019, boosting existing keyboard and touch functions, with Gartner estimating that more than 60 per cent of the total PC installed base will be on Windows 10 by this time.
"If at least half of Windows 10 users opt for voice or gesture to give commands, that will make 30 per cent of the installed base using this function," Lillian Tay, Gartner principal research analyst, commented.
"Speech and gesture will bring new usage and productivity gains in the commercial sector. Take, for example, in field service, where a worker can have hands-free access to files and documents by using a gesture to flip a page.
"Similarly, at home, voice and gesture provide a nice fit with a hands-free PC interaction scenario. For example, waving to a screen to change the page of a recipe book when the user is cooking, or opening a browser to search and add items to a grocery shopping list whenever something comes to mind."