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Touch panels for notebook PCs to recover from Q3 slump

09 Dec 2013

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Market research firm IHS expects shipments of touchscreen panels used in notebook PCs to increase by 10 per cent from 4.4 million units in the third quarter to 4.9 million in the fourth quarter. The introduction of 10.1-inch touch panels, a new microprocessor and various tablet form factors will influence this industry's recovery from sluggish sales in the second and third quarter, according to the IHS report.

Shipments of notebooks have been weak this year because of the continuing inroads of media tablets into consumer demand. This has slowed growth even in the touch-screen notebook segment. However, shipments of notebook touchscreen panels will rise to 18.2 million sheets in 2013, up nearly 500 per cent from 3.2 million in 2012, making these products the fastest-growing segment of the PC market today.

The notebook touch-screen panel market in the second half has been boosted by the launch of products based on Intel's new low-power Atom Bay Trail central processing unit chip. The market also is getting a lift from the release of two-in-one convertible form-factor notebooks that have detachable displays. Shipments of notebook touch-screen panels that are smaller than 10.1 inches are expected to flourish in the near term on account of heavy subsidies to be provided by Intel and Microsoft for laptops with touch-screen panels and those using the Atom chip or the Windows 8.1 operating system.

The "Touch Panel Shipments Database – Notebook" report showed that the average shipments area per unit in the third quarter was 0.065sqm, 4.1 per cent smaller than the 0.068sqm of the second quarter. Market revenue for notebook touch-screen panels declined 12.8 per cent o $190.2 million, and an oversupply of panels particularly in the large-sized laptop market affected prices.

In terms of form factors for notebooks with touch-screen panels, the most prominent change in the third quarter was the decrease in clamshell types, with their share of market shipments falling to 63.4 per cent, down from 75.2 per cent in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the detachable segment rose to 16.9 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent. Tablet form-factor types rose to 12.7 per cent, up from 5.5 per cent. Much of the growth in the detachable and tablet form factors is attributed to the heavy subsidies originating from Intel and Microsoft.

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