Mobile devices have become increasingly popular. Statistics show that four-fifths of the global population owns a smartphone. In addition to a smartphone, many people own a tablet. Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, though, all mobile devices feature a touchscreen. They have a display, such as a liquid-crystal display (LCD), with an integrated display.

Of course, touchscreens are available in different technologies. All touchscreens can detect and respond to touch commands. The technology that powers a touchscreen will simply determine how it performs these operations. So, what type of touchscreen technology do mobile devices use?

Most Mobile Devices Use Capacitive Technology

While there are exceptions, most mobile devices use capacitive technology. Capacitive is the single most popular type of touchscreen technology for mobile devices. More smartphones and tablets use capacitive technology than any other type of touchscreen technology.

Capacitive is a type of touchscreen technology that leverages an electrostatic field, as well as the human body’s conductive properties, to detect touch commands. When turned on, capacitive touchscreens will generate a uniform electrostatic field. They’ll constantly measure this electrostatic field while looking for changes. If you perform a touch command with a bare finger, your body will absorb some of the electrostatic field. The capacitive touchscreen will detect this change in capacitance and, thus, respond with the appropriate action.

Along with resistive, capacitive is one of the two primary classifications of touchscreen technologies. Resistive technologies don’t rely on an electrostatic field. Rather, they detect touch commands based on pressure. Resistive touchscreens feature two layers that are separated by air. When you touch the top layer, it will push into the bottom layer.

Projected vs Surface Capacitive Technology

Capacitive technology can further be broken down into projected or surface. Surface capacitive touchscreens use a simpler method to detect and respond to touch commands. They feature an insulator layer with conductive contacts on one side. Surface touchscreens will apply a voltage to the conductive contacts, resulting in a uniform electrostatic field.

Projected capacitive touchscreens use a different method to detect and respond to touch commands. They feature conductive contacts arranged in columns and rows. With this grid-like design, projected capacitive touchscreens essentially create thousands of individual keys. The end result is a higher level of accuracy and faster response times.

Some mobile devices use surface capacitive touchscreen technology. Most of them, though, use projected capacitive touchscreen technology. Projected capacitive is a popular choice of touchscreen technology for mobile devices. Surface capacitive, conversely, is typically used in ATMs, vending machines and other commercial applications.