Apple will take most touchscreen shipments in 2011

Touchscreens produced for tablets are expected to reach shipments of 60 million units this year, with no prizes for guessing which company will account for the lion’s share.

However the proportion of screens destined for non-Apple tablet PCs is set to increase, with the iPad market dominance likely to subside over time up until 2016 according to DisplaySearch analysis, when the total shipped units could reach 260 million, representing an increase of 333 percent.

According to  Jennifer Colegrove, Vice President of Emerging Display Technologies for DisplaySearch, tablets are the “fastest growing application for touchscreens” – with most tablets leveraging “multi-touch projected capacitive technology” like Apple.

She also points out that some manufacturers are using resistive touch, due to the ability to enable handwriting recognition and its lower price.

Apple’s own iPad 2 was subject to a teardown recently, with its touchscreen costing an estimated $127 according to IHS iSuppli, up from $95 for its previous incarnation.

The way that the supply chain is evolving is said to vary between different regions of production, with Taiwanese suppliers focusing on the overall value chain while expanding their manufacturing capacity for the touch panels.

At the same time Japanese suppliers have struggled to grow due to the strength of the yen over foreign currencies.

Over 10 different structures are in use for projected capacitive touch screens at the moment, due to the different IP and manufacturing strengths and weakness of each supplier.

According to Colgrove it is the suppliers which are able to utlilise simpler structures, alongside fewer materials and processes, that are in a good position to make a push ahead in the market.

DisplaySearch also noted that the the market for touchscreens is continuing to expand into other areas with a large number of firms utilising the technology in a variety of interesting ways.

At CES this year there was a deluge of tablets from all the usual suspects, and there are increasingly more desktops and laptops that utilise the technology in interesting ways that should mean the continued increase of touchscreens.

One example is the reclining display HP all-in-one PC, which is able to tilt back by 60 degrees to allow easier access to the touch screen, something which has so far hindered the usefulness of touchscreens in the desktop environment.

The Dell Inspiron Duo is able to switch to a netbook to a tablet swiftly, offering another way in which the technology can be implemented.