Capacitive touch shipments to soar in 2012

A new wave of products could see capacitive touchscreen shipments hit even greater heights in 2012 than the impressive figures already notched up this year.

Analysts at DisplaySearch have noted that estimates for capacitive touchscreens will hit 566 million in 2011 as smartphones continue to proliferate across the electronics market.

It has been through the popularity of smartphones that the capacitive touchscreen, which makes use of electricity from the human body to detect touch, is making such headways into the market.

This is only set to increase in 2012 as more and more devices pick up on capacitive touch technology.  With a thinner structure and lighter weight, capacitive touchscreens are more responsive than the resistive type, and it is expected that new production methods are will enhance screens in the next year.  Sensor-on-cover touch devices developed by Wintek and Cando are expected to see good sales.

While Apple led the way with capacitive touch on smartphones and tablets, it is the introduction of the long awaited Windows 8 that will see the technology grow rapidly in 2012.

There are various examples of touchscreen all-in-one PCs and laptops on the market at the moment but it will be the release of the touch-friendly Microsoft OS that will massively expand the range of products.

One of the features on Windows 8 will be larger tiles and icons for an easier touch interface.  This will make the technology much more accessible on a range of devices.

With Intel’s much hyped Ultrabooks about to enter their next generation of products, it is thought that 2012 will also start to see many other devices fitted with touchscreen compatibility.  And if Intel’s projected sales are accurate then capacitive touch could get a real boost.

Education and training applications are also expected, with optical imaging and infrared touch making an impact on even larger scale screens than all-in-one PCs.  Multi-media teaching systems are already being developed across the world with screens over 30 inches.

Resistive touch has not been forgotten.  Though long design cycles will hamper any serious short term impact, resistive touchscreen systems are getting snapped up in automotive monitors.

Of course, it could be only a matter of time before all touchscreen types are considered old hat.  If recent reports are to believed there are already devices in development which rely soley on gestures.  Israeli firm XTR3D is planning to release a gesture-based smartphone in 2012, though whether or not the technology will be able to usurp touchscreen remains to be seen.