Touchscreen-equipped mobile handset sales have been building steadily for over a year now, and a new report from IMS Research forecasts that growth will become even stronger.
Although there were fewer than 30 million touchscreen phones sold in 2007, IMS Research expects that number to soar to over 230 million by 2012.
According to IMS, there are numerous signs that touchscreens are poised to significantly increase their presence in the mobile handset market. Recent reports and announcements from the three largest mobile phone manufacturers have highlighted a trend in the increased production of phones using touchscreen technology.
In July, LG revealed that it had sold seven million touchscreen handsets. This announcement came just five quarters after LG launched its first touchscreen mobile phone. Showing similar success, Samsung recently released the Instinct, a full touchscreen handset, through Sprint. One week after the launch, Sprint announced that the Instinct had become the best selling EV-DO device in the carrier’s history. Similarly, Apple reported selling one million of the new 3G iPhone handsets in the first three days of its release.
Femi Omoni, IMS Research analyst and author of the report, said: ‘The original iPhone was the catalyst that created this huge market interest in touchscreen phones. The fact that it was not only popular with consumers, but also helped drive data revenues proved how important touchscreen handsets can be. Now all of the network operators and handset manufacturers want a piece of the pie.’
Growth predicted by IMS Research will not be driven solely by the smartphone segment. According to the company’s report ‘Touchscreens & Input Technologies for Mobile Handsets’, touchscreens will increasingly penetrate the much larger feature phone segment. Nokia has announced that its initial foray into the touchscreen market will be targeted at the ‘volume market’ because that segment of the population is the largest consumer of mobile phones.