Touch screens in mobile devices to deliver $5 billion next year

Touch screens have been available for some time and are found in a variety of fixed and portable devices, but it was the launch of Apple’s iPhone that refocused the public’s attention on them as never before.

Shipments in 2007 of touch screen-based mobile devices increased 91% over 2006, and ABI Research forecasts that revenue from the global touch screen market for mobile phones and other handheld devices such as MIDs, UMPCs, and PNDs will reach $5 billion in 2009.

“Nearly all mobile handset manufacturers are getting into touch screens to a greater or lesser extent,” says research director Kevin Burden. “The acceptance of touch screens to date has varied by geographic region, which has been a significant factor in determining the success of individual handset vendors.”

Samsung and Motorola have been the most successful, commanding 33% and 30% shares of the touch screen mobile phone market respectively. “Samsung and Motorola lead the market for touch screen phones primarily because of their scale and significant presence in the Asian markets,” says Burden. “Because it’s difficult to represent even a fraction of the common Asian characters on a QWERTY-style keyboard, touch screen devices on which characters can be written with a stylus are immensely popular. The Asia/Pacific market consumed more than 80% of the world’s touch screen-based mobile phone production over the past year.”

At 24% Sony Ericsson has the third-largest market share, while all the other handset vendors – including Apple – are essentially niche players.

A number of factors are driving further adoption of touch screen-based mobile devices. Consumers are looking for more intuitive user interfaces and personalization options as device functionality increases. Also, prices for touch components and panels continue to decrease and are falling on an average of nearly 10% per annum.

ABI Research’s new study “Touch Screens in Mobile Devices” examines the various touch screen technologies suited for the various mobile device form factors and sizes and forecasts the penetration of resistive, capacitive and other competing touch screen technologies in mobile phones, PDAs, PNDs, UMPCs, MIDs and Tablet PCs.