Hsinchu, Taiwan - The Multi-Finger patented IC design house, ELAN Microelectronics Corp., is fervently continuing in expanding its market domain in touchscreen applications. After its successful entrance into small size touchscreen for mobile phones and GPS, and touchpad module for notebook, ELAN is currently in the process of penetrating the middle to large size touchscreen market. Its 10.1 inch projective capacitive touch IC and its corresponding touch module have recently been certified by Microsoft to be fully compatible with Windows 7. With mobile PCs trend getting popular as brought about by recent release of Apple's iPad tablet PC, it is expected to influence and revitalize another new notebook trend after the netbook (mini notebook). This trend is expected to stimulate ELAN sales of its touchscreen application products to soar once again this year.
According to ELAN, the company developed projective capacitive touch IC and its corresponding touch module started mass production and shipment to notebook manufacturers in 2004 with shipment volume increasing each year. In 2009, shipment volume of projective capacitive touch IC and Smart-Pad module for notebook PC application exceeds 7.5 million pieces. Four out of five major worldwide notebook makers have opted to use ELAN's finger-touch ICs and modules, making ELAN as among the top three global suppliers of projective capacitive touch IC and module products.
Aside from the robust sales in the notebooks market domain, ELAN's ITO based "Smart-Touchscreen™" modules also remain popular with manufacturers of smart phones, feature phones, GPS devices. Total shipment in 2009 reached over million pieces.
ELAN pointed out that in order to provide customers with the best total solution, ELAN has integrated its expertise in optical, structural, material, and electronic technology into the ITO touch modules. This approach will positively help in reducing time and effort in the development of customer's new product while optimizing their market competitiveness. Moreover, ELAN offers its touchscreen solution in large, middle and small sizes to provide versatility to customer's actual need during product development. Getting the right size for the right product could indeed further boost customer's competitiveness.
As of this date, the projective capacitive touchscreen competitors including Japan's Wacom, Israel's N-trig, and China's Pixcer which mainly focused on middle to large size PCs compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 have already made deliveries to PC manufacturers. However, ELAN has recently filed a complaint for patent infringement against Pixcir Microelectronics Co. The complaint alleges that the Pixcir's "Tango S32" touchscreen/touchpad microcontroller features a detection of simultaneous presence of multi-finger gesture which infringes ELAN's U.S. Patent No. 5,825,352 (aka '352 patent). ELAN patent is certain to cause inconvenience to manufacturers of PCs or tablets that uses medium/ large size touchscreens. The '352 patent relates to finger-touch input technology capable of detecting two fingers or multi-finger touch gestures. Multi-finger is gradually becoming popular application with smart phone and computers, particularly now that Microsoft Windows 7 has been introduced supporting touchscreens with multi-finger gestures function.
ELAN emphasizes the 10.1 inch touchscreen product is popularly used in tablet application. With Windows 7 compatibility certification of ELAN's 10.1 inch projective capacitive touchscreen by Microsoft, other projective capacitive touchscreens for middle to large size will continue to be sent to Microsoft for compatibility certification.
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