As the CEO of SiMa Systems, Inc., I am glad the resistive multi-touch (M-T) technology is getting the attention it deserves. We, at SiMa, feel strongly our resistive M-T solution out performs all other resistive and capacitive M-T solutions, both for touch screens and touch pads.
Specifically-12 pts/mm resolution, 1,000+ pts/sec update rate, force measurement, scalability from 3" to 85"displays and extremely low power. There is no other M-T technology can approximate these specifications, in the public domain.
Currently the only advantage capacitive M-T provides is slightly better optics and percieved durability. The disadvantages of capacitive M-T is very low resolution, very slow update rates, very limited scalability, bare finger only input and very high cost.
As users become exposed to the distinct advantages of resistive M-T we feel there will be a definite shift to resistive M-T as the preferred touch solution.
Market trends also favor resistive M-T. With the explosive growth of AMOLEDs resistive M-T will more than likely become the dominant technology for these displays because the sensor can be located 'behind' the display (current capacitive cannot be located 'behind' the display). This provides for the full benefits of the AMOLED because it does not compromise the the brilliant optics as capacitive does when located on top of the AMOLED. SiMa has filed for patents for a new material stack-up that eliminates the air-gap normally associated with resistive sensors and, in doing so, increases durability beyound capacitve M-T solutions and drives the cost below 4-wire resistive solutions.
Touch pads are another major opportunity for resistive M-T and actually may have a larger market in terms of units in the coming years but I will save that discussion for another time.
SiMa's M-T is complete and available for demonstration. SiMa is also in the process of packaging our technology into a proprietary IC. Yes, the future is bright for resistive M-T.
I've run into the same problem on my iPhone. I think as resistive technology makes its way into new ruggedized devices, be it handhelds or tablets, we'll see a lot more use of these things on the factory floor, as part of control and automation systems or who knows what kind of uses. I'm sure Apple had a good reason for going with capacitive technology, but I'm not so sure they say saw an enterprise manufacturing role for the iPad. Maybe competition will cause them to think differently.
I tried one of these screens at a Microsoft conference. It was one of those large desktop screens. Two or three people were performing tasks simultaneously. I'm not sure how multi-touch would work on a small screen like a phone, but I can certainly see its value on a tablet.
Seems to me Apple was a bit short-sighted in its use of capacitive technology on its touch screens. I can't tell you how many times I have mistakenly tried to use a fingernail, or a gloved hand in the winter, on my iPhone - it only ends in frustration. With competitors looking toward resistive technology, would Apple consider changing its strategy on its touch screens? I think it would be a smart move.
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