Apart from the iPhone, demand for touch screens is driven by new phones in Asia that allow the user to write Chinese or Japanese characters on the screen, usually with the aid of a stylus — much easier than entering those characters with a keypad. Most touch sensors are made Asia by companies that are relatively unknown in the United States.
It’s been a good year for touch screens.
The launch of the first iPhone model a year ago boosted interest in the technology tremendously, and the updated model available Friday likely will stoke enthusiasm further. Now touch-screen manufacturers are going flat out, and more devices will soon be controlled by the tip of your finger.
“After the iPhone came out, a lot of mobile-phone companies said ‘Oh, I can make that kind of touch-screen mobile phone, too,’” said Jennifer Colegrove, analyst at iSuppli Corp.
In the U.S., Sprint Nextel Corp. just introduced a touch-screen phone, the Samsung Instinct, that’s very reminiscent of the iPhone. Verizon Wireless this year introduced its first two phones that use touch screens as their main interface. Research In Motion Ltd. is believed to be making a touch-screen version of the BlackBerry. Sony Ericsson is bringing out its first touch-screen model in a few months.