Tablet shipments to near 250 million in 2017

Research firm In-Stat says that tablets with 9- to 11-inch displays will own more than half of the market in 2017.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Popularity of tablets is about to take off. Samsung

Tablet shipments are set to explode in the coming years, a new study from research firm In-Stat has found.

According to the company's estimates, worldwide tablet shipments will approach 250 million units in 2017. The firm says iOS and Android will secure over 90 percent of the tablet space between them, while Windows will come in a "distant third."

If In-Stat's shipments numbers turn out to be accurate, it would make for significant growth in the tablet market. Earlier this year, DigiTimes cited market watchers who claimed iPad shipments will reach between 35 million and 36 million this year. Android tablet shipments, those market observers claim, will hit about 19 to 20 million this year. Next year, those figures will grow to about 55 million for the iPad and about 45 million for Android devices.

That report followed claims earlier this year from research firm Strategy Analytics, which said tablet sales could hit $49 billion in 2015. In 2009, the research firm noted, tablet sales were essentially zero, marking meteoric growth in that market.

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However, as In-Stat pointed out in its report today, only companies that jump on the bandwagon will be successful in the coming years. The researcher said companies that do not support "one of the leading OS platforms" will face demise "due to lack of application support."

That already appears to be the case. Last week, Hewlett-Packard announced that it was discontinuing its WebOS platform and TouchPad tablet. That device, which came with a 9.7-inch display and only launched last month, was dogged by sluggish demand. In fact, AllThingsD reported last week that big-box retailer Best Buy was only able to sell a fraction of its inventory of TouchPads.

Aside from running the right operating system, In-Stat warns that vendors must also remember to offer large displays in their future slates. The company said that by 2017, tablets with displays ranging in size from 9 inches to 11 inches will own 56 percent of the market.