PC manufacturers turn focus on touch-screen technology

By siliconindia   |   Friday, 28 November 2008, 11:37 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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Taipei: With a fall in LCD prices, advances in technology and applications in high growth markets, PC manufactures in the world increasingly shift focus to touch-screen technology. PC makers are inspired by the success of Apple iPhone which has also caused many other handset makers like Nokia, Taiwan's HTC to come up with similar technology. Microsoft is planning to support touch-screen technology in windows 7, the successor of its Vista operating system.

Bryan Ma, an IDC analyst said, "These computers are challenging the way we interact with a computer." He also mentioned, "The phenomenon hasn't really taken off yet, and we are still seeing just a few early starters, but it will be very interesting to see what is going to happen."

"Touch-screen PCs, which use a specialized kind of liquid crystal display (LCD), could take off quickly if designers find applications that take advantage of their greater flexibility over key boards," said Jenifer Colegrove, analyst, Display Search.

Colegrove pointed out that test audiences who have had to type in Chinese have been extremely receptive of touch-screen PCs that they can write on. This could potentially mean massive inroads for PC vendors in the massive Chinese market.

According to IDC, touch-screen notebooks currently account for less than one percent of all notebook shipments in Asia. However, the recent advances in technology including improved picture quality and better sensitivity to touch, combined with falling LCD prices are increasing the viability of touch-screens.

The largest PC manufacturer in the world, HP had introduced its HP TouchSmart, a high-end touch- screen PC priced at $1,499, targeting users of graphics and other sophisticated design programs. Moreover aiming at home based internet users, Asustek, planning to make the product more main-stream with an all-in-one model, the Eee Top with a price tag of $649. The company is aiming to ship five million Eee Tops within two years.

Industry experts opine rapidly falling touch panel prices as more products enter the market should accelerate the trend. However, manufactures of panels say they are having trouble keeping up with demand. "We couldn't provide enough panels to the market," said, Peter Pan, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Higgstec. To meet the growing demand, the company has opened a new production facility recently.

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