iOS will dominate other tablet platforms until at least 2017 (report)

A new report about tablet PC architectures reveals that iOS will be the definite leader for the next few years, but competition will steadily increase.

Many analysts and surveys predict that Android will significantly catch up to iOS -- at least on the tablet market share -- by 2012.

However, a new report about tablet PC architectures from market research and consulting firm DisplaySearch hypothesizes that tablets running Android 3.0 and higher won't surpass iOS until at least after 2017. Actually, it could be much later than that as the report only covers up until six years from now, and iOS still accounts for a larger piece of the number of shipments annually through then.

As pictured in the graph below, the NPD Group-owned research team predicts that global tablet shipments are expected to reach nearly 330 million units by 2017 -- up from less than 60 million units in 2011

By comparison, iSuppli predicted that we’ll see 275.3 million media tablets units in 2015, and In-Stat only expects 250 million tablets shipped in 2017.

Additionally, DisplaySearch reports that shipments of tablet PCs with ARM processors are expected to grow 211 percent in 2011 to 59.9 million units, but those with x86 processors (usually found in laptops and netbooks) won't grow much until 2013.

That will have an effect on tablets because as more brands will challenge Apple in the tablet PC market, they are also more likely to experiment with the other platforms available to them in the market. But PC brands in general, according to DisplaySearch, will mostly run to Windows and x86 platforms with a minority reaching out to ARM processors.

In turn, the choice that tablet manufacturers make will have a significant impact on the apps supported on those tablets as consumers care more about what they can do with their mobile devices in the end than anything else.

[Graph via DisplaySearch]