In time for the holiday season, we see more and more launches of new touch screen consumer devices; smartphones, tablets, new mini tablets etc. as well a new enabling software Windows 8. Apple, Samung Electronics, LG, Microsoft and others are gearing up for year's end high-sales season. Apples new 7.9 inch iPad mini alone is expected to reach shipments of up to 10 million units in quarter 4 of 2012.
What is clouding the situtation is a supply shortage that the touch screen industry is facing, according to a recent report from Digitimes. What started the issues in the first place was an explosion at a chemical plant in Japan. Together with the ever more increasing high demand, this very much disrupted the availability of upstream thin-film touchscreen materials. The industry expects the shortage, currently at 30%, to continue throughout the holiday season and is hoping for full recovery by the beginning of 2013.
We don't expect the material shortage to be very visible to the end consumer of portable touch devices. Nevertheless, touch screen vendors competing for the materials are trying to find the right approach to keep production going smoothly. Samsung, for example, doubled their orders. Other touch panel makers are looking for additional suppliers.
Looking not too far back, new market leader of the smartphone segment, Samsung Electronics, reported revenue of €4.7 billion with smartphones alone in quarter three of 2012, accounting for over 30% market share. Apple, the number two with only half the market share, shipped almost 27 million units that same quarter. In total, the segment experienced a 45% growth compared to last year.
Globally, IDTechEx forecasts the touch screen market to double by 2017 and reach over $29 billion. The next big topics for touch screen devices will be flexibility and haptic feedback.
The detailed ten year forecasts by touch screen technology and by application as well as primary user markets, applicability of the different technologies and application trends, are covered in the IDTechEx report Touch Screen Modules, Technologies, Markets, Forecasts 2012-2022.
Top image: Unwired
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