Shipments of touch-based—especially pro-cap—displays are exploding. Touch technology has 100 percent penetration among tablets and 60 percent among smartphones.
Touch is the most convenient and interactive way for human/machine interface. What we are seeing now is touch everywhere, from smart phone to tablet to kiosk to navigation devices. Touch display market is expanding with ever increasing and expanding application market. It all started when Apple introduced first generation of iPhone product. Apple used projected capacity touch and gave multi-touch capability to the consumer. After that, touch is enjoying explosion of increased interest and growth in the market.
According to IHS estimation and forecast, the touch unit segment had more than 20 percent growth in 2013 and it is expected to grow more than 24 percent growth in 2014.
Projected capacity technology that was used by the Apple, has been very successful in the market. There are many types of touch technology in the display market: projected capacity, resistive. But with the introduction of smart phone, we are seeing that most of the brand adopted projected capacity touch solution.
Touch solution can be integrated into a display, or it can be integrated into a cover screen, or it can be add-on type. Depending on the application and the cost requirements, brands decide which technology they will go to. In general, we are seeing that the numbers of layers in the touch is going down in order to reduce costs. Also, there is a shift from glass to film to reduce cost. And at the end it reduces cost, lowers the weight, and provide thinner form factor.
Touch is one of the fastest growing markets in the display industry, and this is happening because, as we know, the main application of touch is the tablet market, where it has 100 percent penetration. The other big application is the smart phone market, where it has already 60 percent adoption rate and it is expected to grow 90 percent or more by 2017 and 2018 timeframe.
The other new application that is coming, especially with the introduction of Windows 8, is notebook, as well as monitor, and all-in-one PC. Those products are expected to have higher penetration rate in future. And also now, flexible touch is coming into the market - with introduction of products such as Samsung Round, LG G Flex curved smart phone, flexible display is going to be more prominent in the display industry.
And also we are seeing a big growth in the wearable market. And wearable market will also use touch. Up until now, most of this technology is using projected capacity touch and it seems like that is the current dominant technology in the industry. Many, many new solutions are coming into the market that will enable the touch solution for the next generation market.
Sweta Dash Senior Director, Displays Research, IHS Technology