Several vendors including HP, Dell and Toshiba are set to launch a new generation notebook that will incorporate “Capacitive” touchscreen technology similar to the new Apple iPhone.
Although it is only one of the four main touch screen technologies, capacitive touch screens have been adopted in the Apple iPhone so the technology should receive a big market boost once the handset is launched later this month, the US-based Synaptics claim. The company indicated that almost 25% of handsets will have built-in capacitive touch screens by 2009.
Although Synaptics is not the supplier for the iPhone touchscreen, the company pointed out that live demonstrations of the Apple iPhone have shown that users can easily scroll, minimize and drag icons on their handset screen and with Apple launching its iPhones, the user-friendly technology should begin being adopted in more applications, including in notebook planned to be released by Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Toshiba in the second half of 2007.
Synaptics also claims that capacitive components are more durable that mechanical keypads and in the case of notebooks, greater flexibility can be achieved in terms of design, outfit and cost. Synaptics estimates that 7% of handsets will be equipped with capacitive sensing components in 2007. And that ratio will jump to 24% in 2009, as the platform gradually replaces resistive touch-control technology.
Technology of capacitive sensing has long been in the market and was first developed by 3M. Major applications for this technology have been notebook touchpads in the past. However, it is the iPhone that is expected to spur demand for capacitive sensing technology in a meaningful way, Synaptics said, while adding that LG Electronics’ Prada phone was the first handset to adopt the technology.
Capacitive technology already completely dominates the notebook touchpad market. Although industry growth for touchpads is slow, Synaptics believes that the technology can be applied in other types of applications including multimedia keys or lighting controls for notebooks.
However, whether or not capacitive touchscreen can replace keyboard depends on cost, said Synaptics.