According to the DisplaySearch Q1'11 Touch Panel Market Analysis update, touch screen shipments for tablet (or slate) PCs are forecast to reach 60M units in 2011. 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. DisplaySearch forecasts total touch panels for tablet PCs to reach 260M units in 2016, up 333% from 2011.
"Tablet PCs are the fastest growing application for touch screens," noted Jennifer Colegrove, PhD, Vice President of Emerging Display Technologies for DisplaySearch. "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."
Source: DisplaySearch Q1'11 Touch Panel Market Analysis Update
Regional study by DisplaySearch: The touch screen supply chain is evolving differently in each region, based on variations in touch screen technologies and customer needs. Taiwan suppliers are focusing on the overall value chain while expanding manufacturing capacity for touch panels. Following their success in mobile phones, Taiwanese suppliers are planning to achieve the same success with tablet PCs. In North America, Atmel, Synaptics, and IDT have announced new controller IC products for projected capacitive touch screens. Japanese suppliers have struggled to grow, due to the strength of the yen over other currencies. Several Japanese suppliers, such as Gunze and Suzutora, are expanding capacity of their ITO film lines.
More than 10 different structures are currently in use for projected capacitive touch screens. This is due to the different IP and manufacturing strengths and weakness of each supplier. Colegrove noted, "The suppliers that utilize simpler structures and fewer materials and processes, while maintaining performance, are likely to be the most successful in the touch panel market."
Other key findings from the Q1'11 Touch Panel Market Analysis update include the following:
AUO has achieved yield rates of more than 80% for on-cell touch in small/medium size displays, and has begun shipping DSC, portable navigation devices (PND), and mobile phone applications.
HP unveiled the first touchscreen all-in-one PC to feature a 60° reclining display, enabling users to adjust the display's position for a comfortable experience. 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.
At CES 2011, Sharp, Motorola, Lenovo, RIM PlayBook, Samsung, Dell, Freescale, Microsoft Kinect, PrimeSens, e OpenNI, MultiTouch Ltd, 3M, Touch Revolution, IDT, Stantum, LG Display, Wacom, Keytec, and Samsung all had products with touch or touch screen demonstrations.
Touch controllers are seen as increasingly critical for touch solutions in mobile phones and slate PCs.