Despite the fact the Apple iPhone disrupt the industry with great user interface that relies on capacitive touchscreen and the fact that Google Android-powered T-Mobile G1 uses the same technology, it’s the resistive (rather than capacitive) touchscreens we’ll see in most devices being released in the future. According to ABI Research’s director Kevin Burden, the reality is that existing operating systems, legacy applications, and regional aspirations make the change to capacitive screens for many devices very challenging.
For instance many of the third-party applications written for Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms don’t lend themselves to capacitive navigation, with many of them [apps] being designed for five-way navigation, keypad, or stylus touch input. A change to capacitive screens would make it difficult to ensure continuity and backward compatibility.
In addition, cost is also a major issue as resistive screens are far less expensive than capacitive.
But the most important single factor supporting the continued use of resistive screens is the Asian market where devices with handwriting recognition input with a stylus are needed. A capacitive screen or QWERTY keyboard just won’t suffice in markets like China, given the nature of its alphabet.
“Capacitive screens will continue to make inroads into high-end models,” concludes Burden, “but with the overall market volume still primarily in midrange devices, the resistive screens in devices in this tier will continue to keep resistive technology far ahead of capacitive.”
More information about ABI Research’s study titled “Touch Screens in Mobile Devices” is available from their website.