Shipment of tablets with touch screen technology is expected to reach 100 million units in 2012. The market for touch screens is already large because the technology has been around for quite a while now in ATMs, point-of-sales terminals and Kiosks for example, all rather specialised touch applications. Only a few years ago the true mass consumer market use of touch screens was conditioned by Apple's adoption of projected capacitive touch screen technology for the iPhone in 2007. After this other global players, such as Samsung and LG Electronics, also started to use touch technology for their wide range of products.
Today, touch screen interfaces are becoming increasingly common in mobile consumer devices. Leading the touch screen technology market are high-end mobile consumer-electronic devices, such as smart phones and tablets.
Market size for touch technologies by device size in 2012
Source: IDTechEx, Touch Screen Modules, Technologies, Markets, Forecasts 2012-2022, www.IDTechEx.com/touch
Along with the current market leading technology, projected capacitive touch, the industry has a dozen other ways of building a touch screen sensor, but not all of them are suitable for the rapidly growing consumer electronics market that needs high performance and high clarity. Every single one of the different touch technologies has its own strengths and weaknesses and is therefore used in very different applications. Today, the biggest market for projected capacitive touch screens is in mobile and smart phones, but tablets are right behind and quickly gaining momentum. Analog resistive technology is widely used in small size (below 10 inch) healthcare and hospitality applications as well as high-volume retail environments. Embedded touch technology is currently the leading emerging touch technology and on-cell technology in particular has the biggest potential for small size consumer electronics, but is also suitable for medium size applications. Other touch technologies mainly relevant for specialised touch devices, such as ATMs, banking and financial applications, but also eBooks and mobile phones to some extent, are