The race that Android is set to win against Apple

The number of devices shipped using Google's Android operating system will reach over a billion in 2014, according to research group Gartner.

The number of Android users is set soar by 26 per cent to 1.1bn over the course of the year. Gartner forecasts that the strongest demand for devices will come from emerging markets.

In contrast, Apple's iOS and Mac OS operating systems are predicted to be used in 344m Apple devices by the end of 2014, a 28 per cent rise on the number of devices shipped the previous year.

Commenting on the sharp disparity between the numbers predicted for the two systems, Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman said in a statement:

There is no doubt that there is a volume-versus-value equation, with Android users purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users.

Gartner also highlighted the increasing popularity of tablets, sales of which are forecast to rise by 47 per cent this year to 263m. The research group said the trend was for consumers to move away from PCs and towards the newer devices.

Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal commented:

Users continue to move away from the traditional PC as it becomes more of a shared-content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different usage demands.