The first word that comes to mind when thinking about Windows 8 is touch. For better or for worse, this functionality was to become one of the main reasons for the slow uptake of this new OS.
As much as Microsoft wanted hardware vendors to create touch enabled laptops, the display panel makers had other ideas. They kept production in check to ensure that the market did not collapse. While this means prices stayed high, it also meant that the percentage of touchscreen notebooks stayed low.
But all this is said to change by 2016, according to a new forecast.
This year touch-enabled notebooks are expected to reach sales of 24 million units. This is a remarkable increase of 400 percent over 2012 that puts them to slightly above 10 percent of the total laptop market. This makes for a solid, if unspectacular, figure — but one that will not last for long.
Analyst firm IHS iSuppli estimates that a marked rise in shipments of mobile computers that have touchscreen functionality is just around the corner.
In fact, they will make up a quarter of the industry by 2016. This would put their shipment numbers to somewhere around the 78 million units figure.
The good news is that the prices of low-end 14-inch capacitive touchscreens are on a downwards trend, and this will help a lot. There is a fair chance that the same will happen to all other sizes, or at least the more popular display sizes for laptops.
Of course, this also depends upon just how much interest remains in Windows 8. Microsoft would be hoping for some good showing in this particular area as it prepares to unleash Windows Blue, the first major refresh of its new operating system, set for release later this year.