With the launch of Apple’s iPhone, touchscreen technology has become a mainstream feature in consumer electronics. Since then, many other companies have adopted it for use in their own devices. The now ubiquitous touchscreen is found in nearly every new mobile phone, and is quickly becoming a mainstay of user interfaces in nearly all consumer electronic devices.
The touchscreen display market is now growing at an incredible ten times the rate of the market for displays that do not incorporate the technology. Earnings from touchscreen displays are projected at $13.4 billion dollars by the end of 2011, a jump of approximately ninety percent over the previous year, which turned a profit of just over seven billion dollars. In the next six years, touchscreen revenue is expected to almost double again, turning out nearly twenty four billion dollars in 2017.
Most display technologies do not even turn a profit in the modern day price-slashing market for electronics. Price wars have become so intense that most manufacturers of non-touchscreen displays actually lose money each year by selling their products. Even touchscreens only turn between a five and fifteen percent profit each year, but given the size of the market for them, this becomes an immense source of income for their manufacturers.
The need for touchscreens was at first almost entirely due to their use in mobile phones, but many other devices are now using them. Tablet PC’s are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and represent a quickly growing share of the market. The screens are also seeing increased demand in digital cameras, eBooks, gaming systems, and many other products.
Although the touchscreen market is expected to continue growing, an emerging technology may have the potential to take over the market in the future. The Xbox 360 can now use Microsoft’s Kinect technology, an interface that allows user input by hand gestures without the need for any touch sensitive device at all.