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How should I pick a touch screen company? – Confused in Schenectady

Dear Confused:

Touch Guy is honored that you would pick him to say anything other than, “the only name you need to know is Touch International!” And Touch Guy will admit, after reflecting upon your question, coming up with an answer was daunting. There are more than 100, possibly as many as 200 touch screen companies around the world. They range from companies that focus on selling fully integrated systems all the way to “village” companies that somehow sell 4-wire touch panels at prices below the material cost.

First, because you are asking the question, Touch Guy will assume you are probably working on your first touch project and have not yet been swayed toward or against a specific touch solution (this is good because that means you have an open mind). To start, narrow down the types of touch technology that seem best for you. Read my white paper, “Choosing the Right Touch Technology,” check out products similar to yours to see what they use and then it is off to the web to search for suppliers. While there are several of types of touch, resistive, capacitive and IR have long been the top solutions. Less used but still common are acoustic and optical (camera). Resistive still rules but most new projects use the iphone-type technology called projected capacitive.

The touch screen business is very competitive so apples-to-apples pricing will not vary much. For complicated designs and touch-neophytes, the US suppliers are probably best and for routine, higher volume products, the Taiwanese are going to come through for you. For price, the Chinese suppliers will be your best choice but I suggest waiting until your second project to go that route.

In shorter words, see what your competitors are using, read about touch, call a supplier in your region, and find someone who sounds like they want to help!

Wow, that was a hard question.

Until next time,
Touch Guy