The value of the touch-screen market could increase from about $900m this year to $1.5bn by 2008, predicted Japan's Nomura Securities in a report released yesterday.
Unlike Windows XP and other earlier mainstream versions of Windows, four out of the six versions of Vista incorporate touch-screen support as standard.
An additional factor likely to drive market growth is the success of touch screens on portable games consoles such as the Nintendo DS.
This is paving the way for more touch-screen mobile phones, media players and other gadgets, according to report author Hajime Ikeuchi, a Tokyo-based analyst with Nomura.
Touch-screens are standard on handheld tablet PCs and Ultra Mobile PCs, and are also used in many embedded and industrial computers.
"We estimate the market's current value at around $51m although only about one per cent of the 200 million PCs shipped annually are equipped with touch panels," said Ikeuchi.
"We expect this percentage to increase following the release of Windows Vista, which supports tablet functionality as standard. We look for Windows Vista to bolster the entire touch panel market."
US-based research consultancy Venture Development Corporation estimated in September that the touch-screen market is growing 10 per cent annually.
Nomura's research concurs with this figure, but expects the growth rate to accelerate to 18 per cent next year.
The strongest growth will be in PCs, Ikeuchi predicts, with the number of touch-screen equipped units shipped expected to more than quadruple by 2009.
Touch-screens for in-car navigation systems and several other embedded applications will also increase, he believes, as falling prices encourage manufacturers to add touch sensitivity to products.
"Average selling prices continue to decline as manufacturers face pressure from traditional competitors, low-cost manufacturers in Asia, and cost-sensitive original equipment manufacturers," said Andrew Nathanson, a project director with Venture Development Corporation.
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