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Cover glass market to gain from touch-screen mobile devices

Posted: 11 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:touch-screen mobile device? smartphone? tablets? cover glass?

The expanding market for touch-enabled mobile devices that include smartphones and tablets will push global cover glass shipments to more than 1.5 billion this year and more than 2.5 billion by 2017. This is according to NPD DisplaySearch that also revealed that cover glass shipments increased 44 per cent in 2012, with more than three-quarters of that growth coming from mobile phones.

Last year, mobile phone cover glass shipments increased 40 per cent YoY, accounting for 84 per cent of total shipments. Fuelled by smartphone adoption, mobile phones are on track to remain the dominant driver for cover glass, with shipments forecast to reach more than two billion by 2017. However, with increasing global smartphone penetration, growth is expected to slow to 21 per cent YoY in 2014.

Tablets account for only 14 per cent of cover glass shipments in 2014, but are expected to grow rapidly, reaching 200 million in 2013 and nearly double that by 2017. Touch penetration is effectively 100 per cent in tablets, and they have larger screen sizes than smartphones. Therefore, tablets will have an even higher impact on the shipment area and revenue for cover glass.

"Mobile phones and tablet PCs are the two largest applications requiring touch screen capabilities and are the most critical applications to the cover glass market," said Calvin Hsieh, research director, NPD DisplaySearch. "One of the main market drivers is projected capacitive touch. Cover glass is not necessarily a functional component for projected capacitive touch, unless it uses the one glass solution (OGS), but almost every brand has designed products with cover glass since Apple started the trend."

Cover glass has not been adopted as rapidly in the notebook market. Cover glass shipments for notebooks in 2013 are expected to be 42 million, growing to almost 124 million by 2017. This growth depends on how Windows 8 is adopted by consumers.

"We expect touch, and thus cover glass, penetration in the notebook market to be about 12 per cent in 2013, with the one glass solution (OGS) being the most widely adopted," added Hsieh. "Penetration is limited by high touch module costs, although some models like the Mac Book Pro use cover glass for design reasons. If lower cost solutions such as OGS were to be widely adopted then penetration could be significantly higher."

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