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Majority Of Smartphones To Support Haptics


Haptics is a distinguishing feature which can bestow a strong competitive advantage on the user interface of a mobile device. By 2015, ARCchart forecasts that 60% of smartphones will support some form of embedded haptics technology.

London, 22 February 2011 - The importance of the user interface as a differentiating feature amongst mobile devices has never been greater and haptics provides OEMs with a compelling UI augmentation. While the level of haptics support amongst mobile devices is currently low, ARCchart forecasts that the technology will be supported by 36% of handsets shipped by 2015. In the coming years, simple haptics on handsets will be replaced by advanced, high definition (HD) haptics capable of delivering sophisticated and crisp tactile sensations.

Haptics involves the complex manipulation of an actuation element using defined waveforms to produce a range of effects which may be perceived uniquely by the human finger. There are a variety of contexts in which haptics can be leveraged on a mobile handset: it can be used to provide tactile feedback on a touchscreen when interacting with various UI elements, such as a virtual keyboard or scrolling list, notifying the user that the input they intended has been registered; or haptics can be used to provide a tactile dimension to gameplay or watching a video.

In the study Next Generation Haptics; Market Analysis and Forecasts, ARCchart investigates the growing use of haptics on mobile phones, examining solutions in the market today and the host of next generation technologies which will compete for market share over the coming years. The components which constitute a haptics system are described and the ecosystem of technology suppliers, mobile platforms and handset manufacturers are examined. Insight into the various factors driving haptics take-up is provided and estimates for the size of the mobile phone haptics market is presented, along with a five year forecast for industry growth.

The lack of tactile feedback when using an on-screen keyboard is seen as a significant disadvantage compared to using a physical keyboard, but haptics has been shown to increase the speed and accuracy of using an on-screen interface. According to Peter Crocker, the reports lead analyst, “the tremendous growth of touchscreen devices, which boast virtual controls and input interfaces, is a key driver for incorporating haptics into the mobile phone.”

An embedded haptics solution essentially consists of two components: an actuation element and specialised software to drive the element. This software can either be run by the device’s application processor, or by a dedicated controller IC for more optimised performance and effects. In terms of component sales, the controller IC represents the largest haptics revenue opportunity, with the market expected to total $465 million in 2015, according ARCchart forecasts.

Today, handsets use the inertia-based vibration motor as the actuation element, but HD haptics will leverage advanced components such as piezo electric materials, electroactive polymers or capacitive electrosensory techniques. So far, Immersion Technology has led this development of haptics intellectual property. However, companies such as Artificial Muscle, Pacinian and Senseg have been pioneering a variety of next generation actuation methods and Maxim recently introduced the first piezo haptics controller. OEMs like Nokia and Apple are currently conducting evaluations but a better understanding of materials used in next generation haptic actuators is also needed to bring HD haptics to the mass market.

For more information on the report, use this link:

Selma Liemborg
Press Manager
Tel: + 44 33 00 88 1355
Fax: + 44 33 00 88 1350
Email: sliemborg(at)arcchart(dot)com


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