Touchscreen Shipments Grow In 2009, Mobile Phones Lead The Way

Shipments of touchscreens grew to 606 million units in 2009, according to Austin, Tex.-based DisplaySearch. The research firm is projecting similarly robust growth in 2010 as the increasing popularity of large-scale applications of touch on tablets, all-in-one PCs and other bigger form factors adds to the established success of small-scale touch applications on mobile phones, portable navigation devices and other devices.

In its upcoming 2010 report, "Touch Panel Market Analysis," DisplaySearch also predicts that projected capacitive touchscreens will overtake resistive touchscreens in terms of sales this year. Last year, resistive touch-enabled displays pulled in about half of all revenue in the touchscreen market, while projected capacitive touchscreens like those used in Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch had a 31 percent share of the market.

Products based on other touchscreen technologies -- including surface capacitive, optical imaging and acoustic touch -- combined to make up the rest of the touchscreen market in 2009.

The research firm’s bullishness on projected capacitive technology is based on success stories like Apple’s with its iPhone, iPad Touch and now iPad goldmines. DisplaySearch also found that nearly twice as many companies are supplying projected capacitive touchscreens in 2010 as compared to last year.

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There are 90 companies manufacturing resistive touch products in 2010, to 56 supplying projected capacitive touchscreens. But clearly the latter technology is attracting new manufacturers at an impressive clip -- just 27 projected capacitive suppliers existed in 2009.

Consumers’ appetite for mobile phones that can do more things remains the biggest factor in the growth of touchscreen technology, DisplaySearch said in a statement. Globally, 376 million touchscreens for mobile phones were shipped in 2009, about a quarter of the overall market for mobile phone displays.

DisplaySearch surveyed close to 200 vendors of touchscreen modules, controller ICs, ITO film and other components to compile its report, the firm said.