Android OS Install Base Projected to Surpass Windows By 2016

Underscoring the explosive growth of mobile devices, research firm Gartner predicts that Google's Android install-base will eclipse that of Microsoft's Windows platform within the next four years. By the end of 2016, Gartner says there will be 2.3 billion PCs, tablets, and smartphones all running Android, enough to edge out the 2.28 billion Windows devices.

It's no secret that PC sales have been in a slump, and as computer shipments stagnant, so too does Windows. However, Microsoft's banking on a big reception for Windows 8, not just on the desktop, but in the mobile sector as well. With so much emphasis placed on the touch interface, one could argue that Microsoft has already begun to transition to mobile, and if that strategy works, it could put a wrinkle in Gartner's predictions.

Android Joker

That's a big if. After less than four years on the market, Android has positioned itself as the No. 1 smartphone operating system with an install-base that encompasses two-thirds of the market. Android's also popular in the tablet sector, albeit not as much as iOS, which dominates the category with Apple's iPad line.

Either way, Microsoft faces an enormous uphill battle, and it begins tomorrow when Windows 8 launches to the general public.