A G1F touchscreen is composed of a glass-type touch sensor and a thin-firm-type touch sensor with one controlling the touch panel's X axis and the other the Y axis. G1F-based touch panels have been adopted by Samsung Electronics and Microsoft in their high-end tablets and mid-range smartphones, while LG Electronics is also said to have considered equipping its high-end smartphones with G1F touch panels.
However, the G1F touch technology's worse-than-expected cost-effectiveness has now led these vendors to other touch technologies. Microsoft's new-generation tablet is set to adopt an OGS touch panel, while Samsung is replacing G1F with an improved thin-film-type touch technology. LG has shifted its focus to the development of the OGS technology. The above factors are threatening the G1F's position in the touch panel industry.
G1F was able to gain popularity previously because it was considered to be able to overcome the problems facing rival technologies at the time: the glass-glass (GG) touch technology had weight and thickness issues; GFF technology was seriously impacted by ITO film shortages; and the emerging OGS technology had weak ruggedness and poor production yield rates.
Because of the advantages, Microsoft chose the G1F for its Surface tablet and orders were given to Taiwan-based Youngfast Optoelectronics. Youngfast later established its own glass-type touch sensor production lines and became the sole supplier of the second-generation Surface's touch panels.
However, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business has significantly changed the software giant's supply chain for its new-generation tablet and has switched to the OGS technology from G1F.
Microsoft made the switch because the OGS touch technology has achieved significant improvements in yield rate and better ruggedness at the panel edges. And the technology only requires processing on a glass and does not need to laminate sensors with optical clear adhesive (OCA), which gives the technology a significant advantage over G1F in terms of cost effectiveness.
G1F is also losing its advantages in the supply chain of Korea-based vendors as ITO firm makers such as Nitto Denko have been aggressively expanding their capacities. China-based O-film has successfully entered Samsung tablet's supply chain with its metal mesh technology and Samsung has started to adopt single-layer multi-point thin-film touch technology for its entry-level smartphones. With the OGS technology growing mature, LG has started placing orders for OGS panels made by Taiwan-based TPK to complement the insufficiency in OGS touch panel capacities and yield rates of its affiliate LG Innotek.
After G1F touch technology gradually losing its competiveness, Youngfast, one of major G1F touch panel suppliers, has started strengthening its mass production for traditional GFF touch panels and also tried to use its new glass-type touch panel capacities to mass produce OGS touch panels.
Youngfast has also cooperated with Japan-based Fujifilm to start metal mesh touch panel production. Korea-based makers, which are also facing the same situation, are expected to adopt a similar strategy as Youngfast's. The G1F technology is likely to disappear from the market soon, Digitimes Research estimates.
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