Tag Archives: touchscreen

Visit of Light Blue Optics about touch and pen

April 17, 2014

I’m traveling in Cambridge, England today. I had a chance to visit Light Blue Optics (LBO). Dr. Nic Lawrence, director of product management, and Ms. Evelyne Donnaes, Software team leader at LBO, showed me their touch and pen technologies.

The last time I visit LBO in Cambridge is about 6 years ago when they were developing laser based pocket projectors. Since 2011, LBO has changed business direction and developed optical touch technology. LBO’s expertise is in the touch software, which they named Light Touch.

In January 2014, Light Blue Optics and Promethean announced the integration of LBO’s advanced Light Touch™ technology into ActivWall – Promethean’s newest digital classroom projection offering.

Figure: Promethean ActivWall with Light Blue Optics touch technology

LBO Promethean

Source: Promethean and LBO

The ActivWall is an interactive digital surface that may be positioned both “front and back” in the classroom. In order to design digital classroom surfaces that allow multiple groups of students to simultaneously collaborate, the new ActivWall features Light Blue Optics’ unique Light Touch™ technology that supports differentiated pen (i.e. the system identifies whether the contact is a pen or touch and operates accordingly) and up to 20 simultaneous touches. LBO also claims their system is lower cost than competitors.

Detail analysis, comparisons of touch and pen technologies can be found in our monthly report: Touch and Emerging Display report, April 2014 issue.

Thanks for reading.

Jennifer and team


Microsoft Surface VP Panos Panay speak about people

February 12, 2014

I was invited to attend Microsoft’s Hardware event recently hosted in their Mountain View, California campus. There were about 100 attendees at this event.

Microsoft Vice President for Surface, Panos Panay gave a very good speech at this event. He indicated “It’s not about hardware, it’s not about software, it’s about people. It’s not only about vision; it’s about people that can deliver the vision.”

After his speech, I asked him about the Microsoft Surface table and tablet. More analysis can be found in Touch and Emerging Display monthly report, February 2014 issue.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team

Atmel XSense fab tour in Colorado Spring

November 5, 2013

Atmel XSense is one of the metal mesh types ITO-replacement transparent conductor for touch panel. Atmel announced mass production of XSense in early 2013. The first design-win is the ASUS’s tablet PC.

I recently interviewed Atmel’s director Mr. Rusty Stapp, he showed me the ASUS tablet PC, several new demos and different size XSense touch sensors: flat or curved.

Atmel invited me for a fab tour of their XSense fab this week. I’m in Colorado Spring currently, and I’m very excited and looking forward for the fab tour tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,


O-Film increases touch panel revenue

October 2, 2013

I met Vico, Simon and Johann in California recently, the marketing team of O-Film, and the one-hour meeting turned to two hours. The team is very knowledgeable on the touch screen industry. O-Film is headquartered in China with sales offices worldwide. Their touch panel products include ITO-film type touch panels, metal mesh film touch panels, and One-Glass-Solution (OGS).

Figure. O-Film’s touch panel

O film touch

Photo by: Jennifer Colegrove, Touch Display Research Inc., 2013.

Many Taiwan touch suppliers consider O-Film a strong competitor, since O-Film has recently landed orders from not only Chinese but also Taiwanese ODM/OEMs.

I asked O-film if they have met with companies in Silicon Valley such as Apple, HP…. They smiled and said, “Whatever companies you can think of, we’ve talked to them.”

Touch Display Research believes that high conductivity transparent conductors could fit best on large size projected capacitive touch panels. We forecast the ITO-replacement market will grow to about $4 billion by 2020.

More analysis about O-Film can be found in our ITO-replacement report and Touch and Emerging Display monthly report.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team

Microsoft Surface 2 and Pro 2 Displays

September, 23, 2013

Today Microsoft announced the updated Surface tablet PCs: the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. This time both will use a display with the same resolution––1920X1080.

Figure. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Photo source: Microsoft, September  2013

In October 2012 and February 2013, the first Microsoft-branded tablet PCs were released––the Surface RT and Surface Pro. After years of focusing on software, Microsoft now had a tablet product in addition to hardware lines such as the Xbox game console.

In Microsoft’s July 2013 financial report, the company took a $900 million loss due to the Surface. Obviously, the first Surface tablet PC wasn’t very successful.

As we wrote in the August issue of Touch and Emerging Display report, we believe one of the mistakes that Microsoft made was with the display. A 10.6” size and two different pixel formats for the RT and the Pro were used. 10.6” size was never mass-produced by any display manufacturer before Surface, therefore both of the 10.6” displays were custom made, and that meant a high cost. The result was the high price of the original Surface tablet.

Nevertheless, the second round should be better. Microsoft used the same pixel format this time for both the Surface 2 and Pro 2. More analysis about the touch screen and active pen features can be found in our Touch and Emerging Display monthly report.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team


Taiwan touch manufacturers grasp new opportunities

August 8, 2013

(Editor’s note: Dr. Jennifer Colegrove will be traveling to Taipei, Taiwan later this month to speak at the International Display Manufacturing Conference (IDMC) and to visit TouchTaiwan 2013.)

“I am honored to be delivering a special forum at the conference, and eager to meet Taiwan’s touch screen manufacturers and emerging display manufacturers,” said Dr. Colegrove.

Jennifer will be speaking on August 28th, 13:20-13:45 at a special forum of the IDMC conference which is in conjunction with TouchTaiwan exhibition. Contact her by email: jc@touchdisplayresearch.com

 IDMC touchtaiwan


Taiwan is one of the most active regions in touch screen manufacturing. In 2006-2007, Apple’s iPhone brought revolutionary changes to the touch screen industry. Touch panel companies at the forefront such as TPK, Wintek, Youngfast, J-Touch rode the wave and grew rapidly.

Recently, display and touch screen integration have become necessary to reduce cost, weight, and thickness. This has led display manufacturers such as AUO, Innolux (used to be named ChiMei Innolux), and CPT to grasp an opportunity and supply the new devices.

In 2013 a wave of new opportunities and challenges are approaching. Touch Display Research analyzed the growth opportunities in:

  1. Large smart phone (>5”)
  2. Touch technology for notebook and all-in-one PCs
  3. ITO-replacement materials
  4. Multi-touch and simultaneous pen writing
  5. Touchless control

I am honored to be delivering a special forum at the conference and eager to meet Taiwan’s touch screen and display manufacturers.

Jennifer and team

Sony moving in the right direction: Emerging displays and touch playing a key role

August 5, 2013

Sony Corporation has lost money five years in a row. However, during both this May and August Sony announced good news: it swung back to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter (FYQ4 ended on March 31st) and fiscal first quarter (FYQ1 ended on June 30th). The main contribution to this new profitability is “lifted by the first black ink in 3 years at its long-struggling TV business” as indicated by Wall Street Journal on August 1.

So far, I think the new CEO Kazuo Hirai is steering Sony in the right direction, and emerging display and touch technologies are playing a key role:

  • As we covered in the monthly “Touch and Emerging display report”, Sony has released several 4K TVs. Sony has adopted QD Vision’s quantum dots on some of its TVs for better color and lower power consumption.
  • Sony is still manufacturing AMOLED professional monitors and successfully selling these at high price, leading to profitability
  • Sony is planning a flexible e-Paper display (from E Ink) tablet with pen-writing function by end of this year.
  • Sony added more pen-writing notebook PCs.
  • Recently Sony has unveiled SmartWatch 2 with a larger 1.6” 220×176 touch display (the original SmartWatch has a 1.3” 128X128 OLED display).

Figure: Sony upcoming flexible display tablet with pen

E ink Sony Mobius

Photo by: Touch Display Research Inc.

Although a profitable quarter is good news, the profit of FYQ1 is only 3.5 billion Yen, a 0.2% profit margin. It is still left to be seen if Sony can maintain profitability the entire fiscal year.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team


Our Mission at Touch Display Research

July 11, 2013

Our mission is to provide accurate industry knowledge, up-to-date information, forward-thinking analysis and the best business strategy recommendations to our clients.

Jenny sit

At SID 2013 I visited LG Display’s exhibition booth and asked the booth attendants about their flexible AMOLED. Another visitor happened to be standing there looking at the flexible AMOLED too. I asked the LG booth attendants, “Does this flexible display use the color filter method?”

The LG booth people answered, “No, this demo doesn’t use a color filter.”

I nodded. At this point, the other visitor jumped in and said, “OLED doesn’t need a color filter, it’s not LCD.”   The visitor looked like an intelligent young man, but only knew part of the technology. I explained to him, “Some OLEDs use a color filter––LG’s OLED TV uses white OLED plus a color filter.” 

The young visitor looked at me with doubt, “Really? I don’t think so.” Then he started to talk to the LG booth people, “I saw your CEO gave a keynote two days ago.” The LG booth people asked, “Where?”

The young visitor said, “The keynote at the beginning of this SID.”

I came to SID 2013 on Tuesday afternoon and missed the keynote talk that morning, but I knew the keynote speaker had been Samsung Display’s CEO, not LG’s CEO. I said, “That was Samsung’s.”  The LG booth people also said, “Our CEO didn’t come this time. Maybe it was Samsung’s.”

But the young visitor didn’t hear me, and kept chatting with the LG booth people.

I walked away with a bit of heartbreak and sympathy for the young visitor.

I recently saw presentation slides from a university professor. In one slide he indicated IGZO TFT was still in R&D stage. I looked at the presentation time––March 2013. I know that Sharp announced the mass production of IGZO TFT in April 2011, and finally mass produced it in April 2012. I met Sharp’s CTO in April 2012. Obviously, that professor had out-dated information and hadn’t followed Sharp’s progress in IGZO.

There are many people like that young visitor and the professor who only know part of the technology, part of the story, and unfortunately provide wrong opinions. They don’t know that AMOLED can have color filter too, they can’t tell Samsung from LG, they don’t know that Sharp has already mass-produced IGZO since 2012, but they are willing to spread wrong information.   

I’m concerned about these people and the people they advise. I feel as a Ph.D. and experienced technology analyst, I have the responsibility to provide to my clients correct knowledge, up-to-date information, forward-thinking analysis, and best business strategies.

E Ink Flexible and Color Displays Leap Ahead at SID 2013 Displayweek

May 23, 2013

I’m in beautiful Vancouver, BC this week to attend and give a speech at the SID 2013 Displayweek conference.

At E Ink’s exhibition booth, their director of product management Giovanni showed me several flexible electrophoretic display products and color displays. As I blogged in January, flexible and color displays were the main focus of E Ink at the Flextech Alliance’s Flexible Display 2013 conference, but at this SID is one big leap ahead. The flexible display jumped from a 4.3” active matrix announced in January, to 13.3” flexible active matrix in this May demonstration. The color display added the three color pigment, which they called “Spectra.”

Figure: E Ink booth at SID 2013 Displayweek conference

E ink spectra

Source: Jennifer Colegrove

How does E Ink’s “Spectra” work, and how fast does it switch? When will E Ink’s flexible active matrix display be on the market? What’s the technology used in the 13.3” flexible active matrix display? What’s the flexible active matrix display roadmap through 2015? A detailed analysis will be in the upcoming “Touch and Emerging Display Monthly Report”, May 2013 issue.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team

ITO Replacement Companies

May 18, 2013

Over 180 companies and research institutes are working on ITO replacement in 2013. ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) is currently the mainstream transparent conductor. However, due to its high cost, long process and fragility, non-ITO type transparent conductors are gaining momentum. Transparent conductor applications include touch sensors, displays, lighting, thin-film solar (PV), smart windows, and EMI shielding.

Graphene is the most researched non-ITO material with 41 companies and research institutes working on it. Carbon nanotube and metal mesh are the number two and three.  Twenty-nine companies supply non-ITO transparent conductive film. Twenty-one companies supply the nano ink or powder.

Figure: Non-ITO transparent conductors vs. companies

ITO alternative figure

Source: Touch Display Research, ITO-replacement report, May 2013

Several companies are already mass producing these advanced transparent conductive materials. Atmel has been mass producing XSense for several months. Fujifilm is currently expanding its EXCLEAR capacity. UniPixel is starting the mass production of UniBoss. Cambrios is leading the silver nanowire transparent conductor.

What is the market size and forecast for ITO replacement transparent conductors?  What’s the manufacturing process of different metal meshes? What’s the price of transparent conductive film? Which transparent conductor is suitable for which application? Which direction should you invest in non-ITO transparent conductors? A detailed analysis can be found in our “ITO replacement–Non-ITO Transparent Conductor Technologies, Supply Chain and Market Forecast Report.”

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team