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Tablet PC Architectures Dominated by ARM and iOS; New Kindle Could Light a Fire Under Android

Santa Clara, Calif. (PRWEB) October 24, 2011

Shipments of tablet PCs with ARM processors are expected to grow 211% Y/Y in 2011 to 59.9 million units, while tablet PCs with x86 processors (typically used in notebook and netbook PCs) are not expected to experience strong growth until 2013, according to the newly-launched DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report. Similarly, Windows 8, which is also associated with mobile PCs, is not expected to take significant share until 2013. Global tablet shipments are expected to reach nearly 330 million units by 2017, up from less than 60 million units in 2011, so this market segment provides significant growth opportunities.

The tablet PC and notebook PC markets are on a collision course as both product categories continue to evolve and improve on their respective weaknesses, said Richard Shim, DisplaySearch Senior Analyst. As such, each product category will influence the other over time. Still, the incumbent platforms have inherent advantages in the early years.

More brands will challenge Apple for a share of the tablet PC market and are expected to experiment with the various platforms available to them in the market. PC brands are likely to gravitate toward the familiarWindows and x86 platformswith some branching out towards the ARM platform as well. The emergence of Amazon as a tablet hardware vendor introduces even more non-Windows and non-x86 thinking into the tablet PC ecosystem, requiring players like Microsoft and Intel to catch up to the changing landscape of consumer computing.

Although several processor architectures could be used to power tablet SoCs, the rich software ecosystem of the ARM architecture built around smart phones is proving to be a key differentiating factor, according to Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist for In-Stat, an NPD Group Company. Unlike notebook and netbook PCs, where consumers have chosen products based on the processor or PC vendor, consumers of new mobile devices care more about what they can do with the devices, which is associated more with the device applications and services.

Ultimately the developer community and the apps they create will play a significant role in the success of any emerging platform.

The new DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report tracks quarterly changes in tablet PC products and strategies and forecasts the impact of those changes on the market. It covers the changing landscape of screen sizes, features that are expected to be included and excluded in future tablets, and operating systems, including these highlights:

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