A new study from research group Gartner stated that smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming the platforms of choice for an increasing amount of businesses.  

According to the study, consumers will buy 821 million smart devices (that includes phones and tablets) worldwide by the end of the year, making up 70% of all electronic devices purchased globally.

The study also showed that 13 million tablets would be sold to businesses by the end of 2012.

Smart device sales are expected to surpass one billion units worldwide in 2013, and businesses are expected to buy 53 million tablets per year by 2016. According to Gartner Research VP Carolina Milanesi, 40% of workers will operate on mobile devices by that same year.

"For most businesses smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices," Milanesi said in a statement.

As the demand for smart devices heats up, the competition between the makers of these devices will too.

Although Windows 8 is relatively new to market, the Gartner study showed that the operating system would be the third largest by 2016 (trailing only behind Apple and Android). That rapid rise would stem from business users seeking tablets and tablet-laptop hybrids (also known as convertibles). By 2016, Windows 8 devices will be in 39% of businesses, according to the report. 

The race between mobile's top two developers--Apple and Android--should also tighten as smart devices are used by more businesses. While Android devices currently make up 34% of smart device purchases made by American and European businesses, that number will increase to 56% by 2016, according to the study.

"While Apple remains the heartbeat by which the market moves," Milanesi said in a statement, "Google has rapidly become its archrival."