EETI multitouch touchscreen netbook panels by end of year?

Multitouch touchscreens could become a common option in netbooks in 2009, with the news that Taiwan-based Egalax_empia Technology Incorporated (EETI) are preparing to begin volume production of 7-inch capacitive panels. Pilot trials of the compact touchscreens are already underway, with EETI now turning their attention to developing 12.1-inch notebook screens.

The panels would mean that netbooks could, like the iPhone and the Dell Latitude XT, respond to more than one contact point at a time. That opens up potential for pinch-and-spread movements to control zoom and other gestures.

Sources behind the EETI rumor claim that demand for touch-enabled netbooks will fuel the next big wave of customer take-up. It's a controversial stance: Fujitsu senior product manager recently described multitouch laptops as "not intuitive", however his justification – that people won't "start touching the screen when there is a good keypad" – might indicate that the smaller, less practical keyboards on netbooks might make multitouch a more tempting option.  ASUS CEO Jerry Shen recently confirmed that the company planned at least two touchscreen Eee PC models, though it's unclear whether they will use multitouch capacitive panels.

[via jkkmobile]