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  Date:13th June 2012

Touch screen ultrabook penetration rate of 24.8% by 2015, predicts TrendForce

Touch Notebook (NB) with Windows 8 was the product that was popular among all the products at 2012 Computex. Microsoft is on the edge of launching Windows 8. Since the combination of the touch function and the notebook are in much demand, brands vendors are hoping to both revive NB market and ease tablet PC's absorption of NB demand.

WitsView, the research division of TrendForce has said that touch-screen NBs offer more intuitive surface enhancing its ease of use; however, it is likely to take one to two years to overcome the crucial problems of cost and practicability prior to its popularization.

Eric Chiou, WitsView's research director indicates that the cost of touch module is the most critical key among numerous cost challenges. To avoid impairing the thin and portable design of NB, the touch module follows mostly adopt One Glass Solution as their top priority choice. Even though OGS is not a completely new technology, 11.6" and 15.6" NBs with OGS remain at the early stage; therefore, its production yield rate, quality and stability, and structure of touch controller IC have yet to be mature, leading to higher cost inevitably. Take 13.3" as an example, the whole touch module is projected to increase NB cost by $55~$60, which will surely widen product street price gap by over $100 and therefore hold back some interested buyers.

In addition to pricing issue due to higher cost, practicality directly affects consumers' purchase decisions. Despite the fact that Microsoft has put many efforts into optimizing touch module interface by adding Metro UI (user interface) and shortcut gestures, most PC users rely more on third party software than the installed operating system (OS). Currently, the business software developers have yet to aggressively integrate touch function and software as they might be considering and observing the touch NB outlook. As a result, a touch NB stays to be merely a "usable" product so far. Eric Chiou points out that only with several of application software matching the usage of touch functions, can touch NB be upgraded to a "highly-usable" product or further to a "desirable" product, leading the product advantage to be in line with its actual sales numbers.

WitsView concludes that there is likely to be a diverse trend between the outlook of traditional NB and emerging Ultrabook in terms of touch embedded screen. Firstly, in addition to the significant ease of touch integration, the higher price of highly-portable Ultrabook allows extra cost in improving touch specifications; thus, as cost decreased gradually while the number of application software rises over days, sales of touch Ultrabook are expected to surge in 2014 with a soaring penetration rate from 3.2% in this year to 24.8% in 2015. On the contrary, as a traditional NB has been a price-sensitive product, a touch embedded model will definitely increase its price and therefore brings about difficulties in promoting touch functions. As a result, WitsView holds conservative attitude toward the outlook of touch-embedded NB and further forecasts the touch-embedded ratio to be lower than 1% this year and below 10% in 2015.
Source: TrendForce

Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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