By Rich Freeman
If it sometimes seems there’s a tablet computer everywhere you look these days, just wait until five years from now. According to a recent study from analyst firm NPD DisplaySearch, global tablet shipments will swell from 81.6 million last year to 424.9 million in 2017.
For Microsoft, a newcomer to the tablet space, the new research contains both good news and bad. On the plus side, Windows RT, an edition of Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 operating system for portable devices powered by ARM processors, will experience a 400 percent spike in market share between 2012 and 2017, according to Richard Shim, NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst.
On the other hand, that’s at least partly due to the Microsoft product’s tiny initial sales base: Windows RT tablets will account for a mere 1.5 percent of the market in 2012, and rise to just 7.5 percent in 2017. That will leave Microsoft’s tablet platform well behind Apple’s iOS operating system, which will own 50.9 percent of the market by 2017, and Google’s Android OS, which will command a 40.5 percent share that year.
Copies of the full report, along with additional details, can be found on the NPD DisplaySearch website.