Windows-on-Intel tablet share small for near future

Windows tablets running on Intel chips won't take significant market share for at least a couple of years, according to market researcher DisplaySearch.

Worldwide Tablet PC Shipment Forecast by Processor (millions).
Worldwide Tablet PC Shipment Forecast by Processor (millions). DisplaySearch

Windows tablets running on Intel processors are not expected to take significant market share from market leader ARM for at least a couple of years, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.

In 2012, Windows tablets running on X86 chips--which are predominately Intel--should garner only about 1.8 percent of the market or about 1.8 million units out of a total market of 100 million units, according to Richard Shim of DisplaySearch, which issued a report today. Most of these tablets will use Intel's Atom processor, Shim said.

This will improve slightly in 2013 with 3.1 million Windows 8 tablets running on X86 chips, or about 2.1 percent of a market, according to Shim. In 2013, the overall tablet market is expected to expand to 148 million units.

Shim expects a lot of these X86-based units in 2013 to use Intel's Haswell processor that's due in the first half of that year. Haswell is expected to be Intel's most highly-integrated mainstream chip to date, even more so than the processor it will replace--Ivy Bridge.

Intel is calling Haswell a system-on-a-chip (SoC), meaning it will likely approach the level of integration of the Qualcomm SoCs that populate many smartphones.

Haswell will also power Ultrabooks in 2013. But what constitutes an Ultrabook in 2013 is anybody's guess. Will Haswell-based Windows 8 hybrids be more tablet than Ultrabook? And should these be counted as tablets? If so, Intel's share could be much larger in 2013.

Of course, the elephant in the room is ARM. Shipments of tablet PCs with chips that are rooted in the ARM design will continue to dominate and are expected to grow 211 percent year-to-year in 2011 to 59.9 million units. And tablets with ARM-based chips will grow to just shy of 100 million in 2012.

Apple and Nvidia are the largest ARM chip suppliers for tablets currently but Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are expected to be major players in 2012.

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