Touch-screen mobiles on the rise in 2010

Gartner report shows a dramatic increase in mobile device sales

Sales of mobile devices equipped with touch screens are set to boom worldwide, according a report published by research firm Gartner.

Worldwide figures show that the sales of touch-screen mobile devices will surpass 362.7 million units in 2010, which is a 96.8 per cent increase from 2009 (184.3 million units). Gartner believes that by 2013, touch-screen mobiles will add up to 58 per cent of all sales worldwide and more than 80 per cent in more developed markets like North America and Western Europe.

"Touch screens are no longer the preserve of high-end devices and are now being included in many midrange phones as more companies have been driving the consumer market for affordable touch-screen phones," said Roberta Cozza, research analyst at Gartner. "As phone capabilities increase, consumers are becoming much more aware of the benefits of touch interfaces, and vendors are responding."

The report said that mobile companies were embracing the technology in their devices, with many investing in delivering user interfaces that are optimised for touch screens.

The two most-used types of touch screen technology are capacitive and resistive. Gartner believes that the success of the iPhone has confirmed the practicality of capacitive touch screens in mobile phones but resistive touch screens will still be relevant due to their lower cost.

The Asia-Pacific region leads the way in sales of touch-screen mobile phones. with 129.1 million units expected to be sold this year — 35.6 per cent of the global market. Gartner believes this could be attributed to the region adopting the technology earlier, as it is better equipped to handle the input of Asian characters. Western Europe and North America are projected to account for 26.8 per cent and 24.4 per cent of global sales respectively.

Penetration of the mobile phones market overall by touch-screen devices is more successful in Western Europe and North America, with 49 per cent and 46.65 per cent respectively. Touch-screen mobile phones only account for 23.4 per cent of total mobile phone sales in the Asia-Pacific region due to the large size of its market.

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