The number of connected devices sold around the world – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – is set to top one billion units this year.

This is the prediction of International Data Corporation (IDC), which added that by 2016 sales of gadgets will have doubled from the numbers recorded in 2011.

Bob O'Donnell, vice-president of Clients and Displays at IDC, said: "Smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual's life".

It was noted by IDC that both consumers and business users will turn to new technology, with the public showing a "nearly insatiable appetite" for such products.

The study also suggested mobile gadgets will become more popular than PCs. It calculated that by 2016, the x86 platform – which is used in almost all desktop and laptop PCs and is the current market leader – will see its share slip from 35.9 per cent in 2011 to 25.1 per cent.

It will be replaced as the number one format by ARM-powered gadgets running the Android operating system, which will account for 31.1 per cent of all items sold by 2016.

Research director for Mobile Connected Devices at IDC Tom Mainelli said the growth of Android will be due to the widespread availability of affordable devices.

A separate report recently produced by IDC suggested tablets are also set for a strong year, due to strong demand for items such as Apple's new iPad.

The firm's research added it will be increasingly common for users to own multiple gadgets, with Mr O'Donnell noting: "We are in the multi-device age."

As a result of this, consumers will demand the ability to access their documents and media content from anywhere regardless of the equipment they are using.

Mr O'Donnell said: "The trick, moving forward, will be to integrate all these devices into a unified whole through use of personal cloud-type applications and services."

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