Tablet sales expected to rise fivefold by 2017

Global tablet computer sales are predicted to reach nearly 330 million units by 2017, up from less than 60 million units in 2011 according to a recent report by DisplaySearch.

By comparison, worldwide sales of personal computers (which includes desktops, laptops and netbooks) in 2010 were 350 million and are expected to reach 364 million units in 2011.

To date, most tablet computers ship with less energy hogging ARM processor while personal computers typically ship with more powerful and more power hungry x86 processors.

DisplaySearch predicts this trend will continue in coming years with the bulk of tablet computers expected to ship with ARM processors. Tablets with x86 processors are not expected to any significant growth until 2013 when the Windows 8 Operating system begins to make its presence felt on tablet computers.

The following chart from DisplaySearch shows the predicted growth in tablet shipments by processor and operating system in coming years.

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