Touch screens in tablets to reach 60M in 2011

Santa Clara, Calif. — Touch-screen shipments for tablet (or slate) PCs are forecast to reach 60 million units in 2011, according to DisplaySearch’s Q1′ 2011 Touch Panel Market Analysis update. The market research firm forecasts total touch panels for tablet PCs to reach 260 million units in 2016, up 333 percent from 2011.

The report indicates that Apple will likely continue to account for the majority of tablet PC touch screens in 2011 and 2012, yet other brands could catch up in 2012 and beyond.

“Tablet PCs are the fastest growing application for touch screens,” said Jennifer Colegrove, PhD, vice president of Emerging Display Technologies for DisplaySearch, in a statement. “Most tablet PC products will leverage multi-touch projected capacitive technology, following Apple’s lead. At the same time, a small amount of tablet PCs are using resistive touch, since it is less expense and enables handwriting recognition. There are also some tablet PCs that use digitizers for handwriting recognition and drawing.”
DisplaySearch says the touch screen supply chain is evolving differently in each region, based on variations in touch screen technologies and customer needs. For example, Taiwan suppliers are focusing on the overall value chain while expanding manufacturing capacity for touch panels.

In North America, Atmel, Synaptics, and IDT have announced new controller IC products for projected capacitive touch screens. Touch controllers are seen as increasingly critical for touch solutions in mobile phones and slate PCs, said DisplaySearch.

Japanese suppliers have struggled to grow, due to the strength of the yen over other currencies; however, several Japanese suppliers, such as Gunze and Suzutora, are expanding capacity of their ITO film lines, said DisplaySearch.

The report also finds that AUO has achieved yield rates of more than 80 percent for on-cell touch in small/medium size displays, and has begun shipping DSC, portable navigation devices (PND), and mobile phone applications.

HP also unveiled the first touch-screen all-in-one PC to feature a 60-deg reclining display, enabling users to adjust the display’s position for a comfortable experience, while Apple applied for a patent in 2010 with a similar solution. This type of ergonomic solution will boost touch adoption for all-in-one PCs in the future, according to DisplaySearch.