The worldwide market for touchscreen mobile devices will surpass 362 million units in 2010, almost double the 2009 sales of 184.3 million units, according to Gartner, Inc.

The firm predicts that by 2013, touchscreen mobile devices will account for almost six out of ten mobile device sales worldwide and four out of five units in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe.

"Touchscreens are no longer the preserve of high-end devices and are now being included in many midrange phones as more companies have been driving the consumer market for affordable touchscreen phones," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. "As phone capabilities increase, consumers are becoming much more aware of the benefits of touch interfaces, and vendors are responding."

Ms. Cozza said that the success of the iPhone has shown the viability of capacitive touch technology in mobile phones, which enables more-natural, responsive and intuitive gestures. Gartner predicts that capacitive and resistive touchscreens will coexist in the short term in mobile phones. Capacitive touch will be the mainstream technology; however, resistive touchscreens will still be around because of its lower cost.

From a sales volume perspective, Asia/Pacific is the leading region for touchscreen mobile devices. In 2010, touchscreen mobile device sales in Asia/Pacific are projected to surpass 129.1 million units, accounting for 35.6 percent of the global market. By comparison, Western Europe and North America are expected to account for 26.8 percent and 24.4 percent of global touchscreen mobile device sales. Looking at penetration of touch devices as part of overall sales in their regions, however, Western Europe leads the way with 49 percent, followed by North America at 46.65 percent. Due to the much larger size of the overall market, touchscreen sales will account for just 23.4 percent of total mobile device sales in Asia/Pacific.

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