Logitech to launch Touchpad

Logitech is abandoning further development of electromechanical trackballs for portable PCs and plans to release a touchpad next month at PC Expo, according to sources at the company.

In addition to its existing capacity in Hsichu, Taiwan, the company is gearing up production at a plant in Suzhou, China, that can handle 60 million units annually.

"Given the way the market is going, touchpads will become the primary input pointing device for the portable computer market by the latter half of the decade," says Diana Hwang, a senior industry analyst at IDC, a research company in Framingham, Massachusetts.

In 1995, two smaller companies, Cirque and Synaptics, both launched touchpads and have already taken more than half the market from vendors of older technologies, such as trackballs and joysticks, according to IDC.

Logitech is based in Fremont, California, and can be reached at +1 (510) 795-8500.

(Kay is a freelance writer in Wayland, Massachusetts.)

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