Capacitive touch-sensing technology is found in dozens of smartphones and tablet computers. Whether you own an Android or Apple mobile device, it probably uses this technology to identify touch commands. And while there are other touch-sensing technologies available — resistive, piezo, etc. — capacitive has become the industry standard among mobile device manufacturers. Over the past decade, more and more manufacturers have transitioned to capacitive to reap the benefits of this versatile touch-sensing technology.

The World’s First Capacitive Touchscreen Devices

For millions of mobile device users, the first-generation Apple iPhone was the first time they had ever seen capacitive touch-sensing technology in action. Apple’s flagship smartphone disrupted the mobile device market, signaling a new era that would ultimately attract heavy competition from Google, LG, HTC and other mobile manufacturers. Prior to the iPhone, most manufacturers used resistive touch-sensing technology in their mobile devices. But Apple took a gamble by opting for capacitive touch-sensing, which proved well for the Cupertino company, as its sales skyrocketed.

The first-generation Apple iPhone wasn’t the first mobile device to feature capacitive touch-sensing technology. Capacitive technology had been around for years prior. In 2008, LG implemented the technology in its KE850 smartphone. Like the iPhone — which Apple released one year later — the LG KE850 was a top-selling smartphone. Within just 18 months of being released, more than 1 million units had been sold, attesting to its popularity among mobile handset users.

Why Mobile Manufacturers Prefer Capacitive Touch-Sensing Technology

So, what prompted LG and Apple to use capacitive touch-sensing technology in their respective smartphones? At the time, it was unknown exactly how users would respond to this new technology. But after the LG KE850 and first-generation iPhone were released, the results were apparent: Users preferred capacitive smartphones over their resistive counterparts.

Unlike resistive smartphones, capacitive smartphones identified users’ touch commands by measuring change in capacitance. This means they are responsive than their resistive counterparts, as even a light-pressure touch triggers a change in capacitance, thereby allowing the smartphone to determine the user’s precise point of touch. Capacitive smartphones are deliver a higher quality display because they support higher pixel resolutions.

For these reasons and others, capacitive has become the industry standard for mobile touch-sensing technology. While you can still buy resistive smartphones — as well as smartphones powered by other types of touch-sensing technology — most feature capacitive technology. It’s responsive, offers superior display quality and works well for all types of smartphones.