Touchscreens have been here for 20 years, but it took the Apple iPhone to popularize them for consumer electronics. Now everyone and their brother is courting touchscreen makers to create an equally "wow" experience for their users. To rival Apple, however, you can't go with the plastic resistive touch screens, but have to go with the $22 all-glass capacitive version from makers like Ocular, which will demo the first netbook-sized projected capacitive touchscreen at the upcoming SID show next week.
Ocular Inc. will demonstrate the first capacitive touchscreen to be used on a netbook at the Society for Information Display (SID) International Symposium, Seminar and Exhibition May 31"June 5 in San Antonio, Texas. The reference design will demonstrate how gesture recognition, made famous by Apple's iPhone, can be enabled on netbook screens of up to 10.4 inches in size. The company has been manufacturing custom touchscreens at its own fab in China for more than 20 years—mostly smaller screens used by industrial customers for the control panels on embedded equipment. But the popularity of Apple's iPhone screen has left competing handset makers such as Nokia, Palm, Research in Motion (RIM) and Samsung scrambling to emulate Apple's success. Market watcher iSuppli Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.) now predicts the worldwide market for touchscreens will nearly double between 2008 and 2013, going from $3.4 billion to $6.4 billion.