Tablet PCs to be dominated by ARM and iOS

Bleak picture for Android, Windows 8 and Intel
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Market research outfit DisplaySearch predicted that tablets with ARM processors would grow 211 per cent year on year while Intel-based tablets wouldn't take off until 2013.

Published in the Tablet Quarterly report by NPD-owned DisplaySearch, the firm painted a bleak picture for Apple iPad rivals such as chipmaker Intel and rival manufacturers using ARM processors with the Android operating system.

"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 DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim.

"Each product category will influence the other over time. Still, the incumbent platforms have inherent advantages in the early years," Shim pointed out.

The DisplaySearch forecast shows x86 processors barely registering on a tall bar of continued ARM dominance all the way to 2017. In-Stat chief tech strategist Jim McMcGregor said that the users "care more about what they can do with the devices."

Such use-focused consumers are more associated more with device software and services rather than the underlying hardware platform, he said.

While citing a potential influence of a popular Android-powered Amazon tablet, DisplaySearch still forecasted that Android would struggle to capture a fifth of the tablet PC market in 2012.

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

Interestingly the company doesn't appear to consider that Microsoft's developer community will account for much tablet market share even following the arrival of Windows 8.

The company indicated a continuing resistance to tablets with built-in mobile network functionality, predicting that the lion's share of tablet owners would opt for Wi-Fi only device. However the proportion of mobile network equipped devices would slowly rise from 10 per cent in 2013 to 25 per cent in 2017, DisplaySearch said.

Further price reductions may also be on the way as manufacturers move LCD screen manufacturing to larger plants capable of volume production.

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