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Mobile phone touchscreen technology

Category : Mobile Phones

Mobile phone touchscreen technology is fast becoming the most sought after feature on mobile handsets, ever since the technology was revealed with the award winning iPhone from Apple, consumers have been clamouring to own mobile phones with a screen giving touch control. Of course today almost every phone manufacturer offers touchscreen technology in their phones, but there are many different types of touchscreens and some types of integration are better than others – so how do you decide which touchscreen is for you?

There are basically 3 different types of touchscreen – Resistive Touchscreen, Capacitive touchscreen and Infrared touchscreens.

Resistive touchscreens are probably the most widely used of all the touch screen technologies, particularly in mobile phones. Resistive touchscreens are cheap to manufacture and offer good resistance to water and dust, however they are easily scratched. One of the advantages of resistive touchscreens is that you can use any object to touch them (ie finger, stylus, pen etc) and they have a long lifespan of around 35 million clicks. Examples of mobiles using resistive touchscreens are the The Nokia X3 Touch and Type, Nokia X2, ZTE Racer and Alcatel OT-880.

Capacitive touchscreens come in 2 basic types- screens that can recognize multiple touches simultaneously and screens which cannot. These capacitive touchscreens are more expensive than the resistive types, but they are scratch resistant (in addition to being moisture and dust resistant). This type of touchscreen needs to be touched with an object emitting a constant electric flow – i.e. a human finger – this is how the contact point is determined. So unlike resistive screens which can be touched with any object, capacitive screens are limited to actual fingers! These types of screens do have a longer life than their cheaper resistive counterparts however (about 225 million clicks). Touchscreen phones using capacitive technology include the HTC HD2, LG KM900 Arena and Apple iPhone 4.

One particular and unique application of the capacitive touchscreen is the Active-matrix OLED (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode or AMOLED). This display technology (used in mobile devices such as the HTC Desire, Nokia C7, Nokia N8 and Google Nexus one) integrates capacitive sensor arrays in the AMOLED module. This technology known as Super AMOLED is used primarily in Samsung phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S.

Infrared touchscreens are the most expensive of the all the mobile touchscreen types and they are not affected by moisture, dust or scratches. This type is rarely used in modern mobile phone touchscreens. By far the most popular type of touchscreen with manufacturers today is the capacitive type mainly due to the increased responsiveness and higher quality display.

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