Electronic Design

Use Of Touch Screens Is On The Rise

Global shipments for the leading touch-screen technologies will rise to $4.4 billion by 2012, up from $2.4 billion in 2006, according to iSuppli Corp. Although resistive is the dominant touch-screen technology for mobile phones, technological variations being commercialized on mobile phones in 2008 and 2009 include sensor-in-pixel or in-cell touch, bending wave from Elo/Tyco Electronics, and polymer waveguide from RPO Inc.

Although it is not very durable and has poor transmissivity, low cost and responsiveness to both finger and stylus touch has made it the number one touch-screen technology in terms of unit shipments during the last few years. However, the resistive market now is suffering a shortage of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) film used to make such screens due to production expansions among several major manufacturers and limited numbers of ITO film suppliers.

“Catalyzed by Apple Inc.’s iPhone, sales of touch screens using projected-capacitive technology are growing dramatically,” said Jennifer Colegrove, senior analyst for emerging displays at iSuppli. “Projected capacitive touch-screen technology is more durable and has better transmittance than the more commonly used resistive technology. More touch-screen manufacturers are developing and commercializing this type of screen. Furthermore, the average pricing gap between the capacitive and resistive display types is dwindling, making the technology more attractive.”

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