Following Apple's and Samsung heavy investments in touchscreens to secure supply for smartphones and tablets, Intel decided it was time to help its partners as well.
The company has guaranteed four display suppliers an undisclosed number of unit demand from PC makers. Intel is not paying anything upfront, but will foot the bill for all screens that are not purchased by those system vendors from the entire lot. According to Bloomberg, agreements were reached with TPK, Wintek, HannsTouch and Cando. There was no information which PC makers will be able to benefit from the secured supply.
Intel's investment is different from Apple's strategy to invest into production upfront and simply buy up a certain portion of the supply. Intel's involvement is relatively low risk and very attractive for the touchscreen makers, since they will get paid for their displays whether or not they will be purchased for tablets and touchscreen PCs.
For Intel, it is critical that enough touchscreens are available to help the launch of Intel tablets and touchscreen PCs a success. With Samsung and Apple accounting for more than half of the smartphone market, and an even greater share of the tablet market, supply will become more of a challenge for those tablet and PC vendors that are not included in any secured supply agreement. It is unknown whether Microsoft has also secured touchscreens for its key Windows 8 launch partners as there are predictions that overall global supply of these devices could run short later this year.