It was announced late yesterday that Cima NanoTech, a developer and manufacturer of transparent conductive film solutions has entered into a joint venture with Foxconn, the world's largest ICT technology provider and vertically integrated device manufacturer, to deliver the industry's first cost-competitive, projected capacitive (pro-cap) solution for large format touch screens.
Both companies will sell SANTE ProTouch modules through 'Cima Touch,' the company formed under this joint venture. Foxconn's expertise in the mass production of reliable, high-quality products, coupled with Cima NanoTech's proprietary SANTE self-assembling nanoparticle technology, delivers a cost-competitive solution for customers looking to shift from infrared (IR) touch technology to pro-cap multi-touch solutions and systems.
The technology is used to manufacture 40 to 104-inch interactive displays for interactive kiosks, tabletops, whiteboards and beyond.
Kevin Chen, a director of Taiwan-based Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple and other electronics brands such as Amazon, said the partnership with Cima NanoTech enables Foxconn to "break new ground and address the rapidly growing large format touch market."
While Foxconn is Apple's leading manufacturing partner, they do in fact working with almost every major tech company in the market including HP, Dell, Xiaomi and Microsoft. The likelihood of Foxconn looking to manufacture Microsoft's new Surface Hub as noted in the graphic above and covered in a January report are high in addition to bringing this technology to their other partners.
Yet with Apple and IBM working together on MobileFirst and rumors of an iPad Pro for the enterprise in the works, you have to wonder if Apple has been in talks with Foxconn over future large touchscreen displays for a product like an interactive whiteboard or future iMac.
While the news of Foxconn's new joint venture doesn't link to an Apple product directly today, it could one day lead to new Apple products that use this technology.
Last year the EE Times reported on Cima NanoTech's technology. Jon Brodd, CEO of Cima Nanotech, told EE Times at the time that their "ITO alternate is about 10x more conductive and can be deposited on a lot more substrates than ITO -- including transparent polycarbonate. And because our resistivity is about 15 ohms per square, whereas ITO is 150 ohms per square, we can also handle much larger touch screens than ITO. For instance, our prototype is a 42-inch touchscreen that is running at about twice the speed of an iPad."
The bezel-less, 42-inch, 150 Hz, 10-point multi-touchscreen was created for the demo in partnership with Amdolla Group of Shenzhen, China -- whose customers have included Apple, Intel, Lenovo, Huawei, TCL, and many others.
Lastly, it was rumored earlier this week that Foxconn may finally get a piece of Sharp, an Apple display supplier, in a new venture spin-off. Bringing Cima technology to Sharp displays for say an iPad at twice the responsiveness would definitely be interesting indeed. Definitely food for thought on that front.