The G1F touch technology, which is composed of a glass-type touch sensor and a thin-film touch sensor, is gradually losing its competitiveness in the face of GFF and OGS touch.
Prices for the traditional GFF, which is composed of a dual layer of ITO film sensors,have been falling fast, while OGS has seen improved yield rate and ruggedness.
Currently, major G1F touch panel suppliers, Taiwan-based Youngfast and Korea-based Melfas, are turning their focuses to metal-mesh thin-film-type touch panel and single-layer-multi-points thin-film-type touch panel production, respectively, and Digitimes Research believes the new technologies will offer the two suppliers new business opportunities.
Youngfast's glass-type touch sensor production capacity, which was originally established to help the maker own a complete supply chain for G1F touch panel production, is able to supply about 150,000 tablet-use touch panels per month currently. With the G1F technology losing out in the market, Youngfast is expected to continue strengthening its GFF touch panel production, focus on mass producing OGS touch panels using its existing glass-type touch panel capacity, and cooperate with Japan-based Fujifilm to start metal-mesh thin-film-type touch panel production.
In the future, Youngfast's OGS and metal-mesh product lines are expected to replace G1F ones in the maker's offerings for the mid-range to high-end tablet segments.
Although Youngfast's OGS touch panels have not yet received any orders for Microsoft's new tablet, China-based Lenovo's branch in Japan has adopted the maker's metal-mesh touch panels for its high-end Thinkpad Tablet series. Because of the series' high-end configuration, Youngfast is only supplying 40,000-50,000 touch panels each month currently.
As for Melfas, the company used to manufacture touchscreen ICs and following its entry into G1F touch panel production in 2013, the maker has seen staggering growth in revenues. However, due to poor yield rates, the company did not achieve profitable operation until the third quarter of 2013.
As its main client Samsung stopped adopting G1F touch panels for its products, Melfas, using its touchscreen IC manufacturing experience, entered single-layer multi-points thin-film-type touch panel production in March 2014 and is targeting mainly Samsung's entry-level/mid-range smartphone supply chain.
Despite fierce price competitions from China-based makers such as Toptouch, Melfas continues to enjoy a good share of shipments thanks to Samsung's policy of protecting local component suppliers.