Recently published statistics from IMS Research, Austin, show that the world market for industrial PCs (IPCs) was estimated to be worth $2.07 billion in 2010, up from $1.7 billion in 2009. What's more, growth forecasts put world IPC revenues at $3.5 billion — more than 3 million units shipped — in 2015.

Revenues from embedded box IPCs are projected to achieve the fastest growth. These rugged IPCs are well suited to harsh environments where water, extreme temperatures, dust, humidity, or vibration excludes other IPCs. The footprint of embedded box IPCs is also shrinking, largely due to component minimization. This means they are being specified into applications where size might have inhibited their adoption in the past.

That said, these low-power fanless IPCs are likely to face stiff competition from rugged ARM-based products, which are increasingly being developed by companies previously focused on x86 IPCs. The Intel Atom opened up the market for IPC use in lower performance and power applications, and now suppliers are looking to ARM-based products to further this market expansion.

Particularly in applications where low power consumption is important, these ARM products will directly compete with Atom-based IPCs. “Because the next Windows operating system due to be launched at the end of 2012 will support ARM, it is very likely that products with this architecture will reduce the growth of the low-end IPC market,” explains analyst Mark Watson.

IPCs based on x86 architecture will continue to dominate adoption in higher-end applications. In many of these applications, power consumption is not an issue and is much less of a concern than processor performance and overall system functionality.

The full report from IMS Research on the IPC market, The World Market for Industrial PCs - 2011 Edition, provides detailed analysis in terms of revenue, unit shipments, and average selling price. In addition, the report discusses trends, likely market changes, and regional differences. For more information, visit imsresearch.com.