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Touch tech firms tap Intel for factory cash

Chip giant to keep Win8 touch bandwagon rolling

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IDF 2012 Intel has been pumping money into the touchscreen component business in order to encourage the production of panels of 13in and up to make sure there are enough of them for vendors to build all the touch-enabled Windows 8 notebooks Intel hopes World+Dog will want.

The head of Intel's PC Client Group, Kirk Skaugen, didn't say how much cash the chip giant has put up, but he did reveal the money has gone to the likes of component makers Hannstouch, Wintek, TPK and Cando to "jump-start factories" for the touch sensors on large display form-factors.

Skaugen said Intel has been working with these sensor vendors to ensure the user experience is "bulletproof".

The scheme is to ensure there are 3-5 times as much touch panels as past demand forecasts have suggested will be needed. The upshot: vendors will not be able to claim touch panel supply problems prevented them from rolling out touch-enabled laptops.

Convincing vendors to do so is another matter, of course. Of the 70 Ultrabook designs currently in the pipeline, only 40 have touch, Skaugen admitted.

But with Intel research pointing to what the company interprets as real consumer eagerness for touch control on all-in-one desktop and notebook devices, it's adopting a 'build it and they will come' approach. Assuming, economic uncertainty doesn't scupper the scheme, of course. ®

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