The touch-screen display trend that Apple's iPhone touched off has led to a booming market that will see shipments triple between 2010 and 2015, according to IHS iSuppli analysts.
and iPad have kicked off a booming business in touch-screen displays that will
see shipments of touch controller integrated circuits (ICs) triple from 2010 to
2015, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
In a report
issued March 28, the analyst at IHS iSuppli said that shipments of touch
controller ICs will grow from the 865 million units in 2010 to 2.4 billion in
2015. In 2012, the analysts expect shipped units to hit 1.7 billion, a 28
percent jump over 2011. The market will see double-digit growth before leveling
off a bit, they said.
can be found in a rapidly growing number of devices, from tablet and
smartphonesnot only from Apple but also from Samsung, HTC and others who build
devices for Googles Android operating systemto e-readers from the likes of
Amazon and Barnes & Noble, all-in-one PCs, portable navigation devices and
flat-panel TVs and monitors, according to IHS iSuppli. However, all of that can
be traced back to Apples introduction five years ago of the first iPhone,
according to Randy Lawson, principal analyst for display and consumer
electronics at IHS iSuppli.
in touch controller IC shipments is due to the growing number of devices that
employ touch technology, Lawson said in a statement. Apple almost
single-handedly ignited the market for touch in 2007 when it introduced the
iPhone, which featured a multi-touch screen based on a projected capacitive
touch technology. Since the appearance of the iPhone, many other smartphone
manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon by deploying sophisticated touch
sensors for their products.
continues to lead the parade. The latest example is the iPad 3. Apple officials
said the company sold about 3 million new iPads the first weekend of release,
and based on this estimate, Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said
March 20 that the company could sell as many as 66 million this year.
By 2015, the
iPad market could grow to about 176 million units, Munster wrote in his report.
number of devices and appliances using touch-screen technology will continue to
grow rapidly as more products adopt the feature, the analysts said. In 2010,
514.9 million devices and appliances used some form of touch controller IC;
that number will hit 1.06 billion this year, according to IHS iSuppli.
noted that the number of shipments of touch controller ICs is more than the
number of touch-screen-equipped mobile devices because some devicessuch as
tabletsuse more than one IC in each product. There also can be low manufacturing
yields in advanced touch-screen modules, they said.
implementation of the touch-screen market is the projected capacitive touch
screens used in such devices as Apple products, according to IHS iSuppli. They
accounted for 54 percent of the touch market in 2011, and should remain there
in the coming years, followed by such technologies as infrared, optical and
shipments soar, revenues in the space are growing less quickly, the analysts
said. Touch controller IC revenues in 2012 will be about $1.5 billion, a 15
percent jump over the $1.3 billion in 2011, according to IHS iSuppli. Revenues
should peak in 2014, at $1.6 billion, and then start to decline.
Such issues as
declining average selling prices (ASPs), the falling number of touch ICs being
used per panel in medium-sized applications, and the growing market pressure
from integrated solutions from some companies are contributing to the slower
revenue growth. ASPs should drop by about 12 percent per year through 2015, the
analysts said. In addition, the number of touch controller ICs used in tablets
that are larger than seven inches also will drop from three or more to only one
in many cases.
Semiconductor and Synaptics were the market leaders, with a total of about 60
percent share. However, competition is increasing, IHS iSuppli said. Most of
the competition is coming from Asian makers of display driver ICs, including
Novatek Microelectronics and Himax Technologies of Taiwan, and Solomon Systech
International of Hong Kong.
Many of these
Asian firms are developing their own touch IC offerings, with the idea of
eventually integrating touch capabilities into existing single-chip driver ICs
in mobile handsets and liquid crystal displays smaller than 5 inches for
general mobile consumer electronics devices.