Touch-screen suppliers snub notebooks in favor of smartphones, tablets
Touch-screen suppliers are focusing their production on smartphones and tablets instead of on notebook computers, leading to a shortage of touch screens for notebooks, according to the latest figures from NPD DisplaySearch.
The unproven demand for touch screens on notebooks and the high-end specifications for touch on Windows 8 notebooks have contributed to touch-screen suppliers' reluctance to shift production from high-volume smartphones and tablets, noted Richard Shim, senior analyst with NPD DisplaySearch.
Despite supply problems, at least one notebook manufacturer is moving ahead with new touch-screen Windows 8 notebooks. Acer announced this week the launch of four Windows-8-based Aspire5 touch-screen notebook models, according to Tech 2.
In addition, there is a shortage of ultra-slim panels for ultra-slim notebooks due to the technical challenges and expense of making the panels.
"The challenge from a production standpoint is that manufacturing ultra-slim glass--0.4mm and thinner--is not only difficult, but handling and transporting such fragile glass requires special equipment. Only two panel suppliers, AUO and Innolux, are taking on the extra expense of using ultra-slim glass to offer panels in any significant volumes," Shim said.
The ultra-slim notebook market is expected to reach 44.2 million unit shipments worldwide in 2013, making up 21.4 percent of the notebook PC market. The ultra-slim notebook category is projected to grow steadily between 2014 and 2015, and eventually establish a standardized high-end notebook market.
In the long term, demand for touch-screen and ultra-thin notebooks is expected to take off as new technologies are developed to lower the cost and increase production.