Take the 2-minute tour ×
Android Enthusiasts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for enthusiasts and power users of the Android operating system. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've read on various posts on the net that touchscreens lose sensitivity over time, but I have not found any detailed information about why and how I can prevent this. Does anybody know why and how this happens, and how long it takes?

share|improve this question
2  
Can you reference these posts? I've never heard that. All hardware breaks down over time though, of course. –  Matthew Read May 5 '11 at 20:37
    
@Matthew: after searching again, it turned out that most posts were faulty hardware, faulty software, or as Eric said below, really old touchscreens –  Quamis May 6 '11 at 6:26
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Capacitive touchscreens found in modern smartphones don't wear out, physically, because they're solid-state technology behind a piece of glass. Practically the only way to destroy them is to build up a goodly amount of static electricity and then touch the screen -- if you're deliberate about this, it might zap the circuitry, but it's not specific to touchscreens and you can do that with all kinds of electronics.

Resistive touchscreens found in older electronics can wear out because they're basically made of movable things; two layers of transparent conductive material with a thin air gap in between them. Because the screen relies on physical pressure from your fingertip, there can't be a solid piece of glass in front of it (even if the LCD screen behind the touch array probably is made of glass). When your finger presses the layers together when you touch this screen, you effectively create an electrical short that is used to signal which point on the screen was touched.

  • Press hard enough and you can damage these layers so that they don't move away from each other again.
  • Press often enough and you'll simply wear out the outermost soft plastic material of the screen -- this is why it's important to use a clean stylus (and/or a screen protector).
share|improve this answer
add comment

I have a T-Mobile G1 (the first Android phone) that's a few years old now and sensitivity on the touch screen is still intact.

If you don't treat your phone well it is likely that over time you're going to damage it or the screen can get so dirty that sensitivity might decrease, but it is not an issue with the touch screen technology. Any phone that is badly treated will get damaged.

share|improve this answer
add comment

My Motorola Droid is as sensitive now as it was in October 2009. At least I don't notice any appreciable loss of sensitivity. This is my daily carry/drop/reflash/abuse phone, so if there were going to be some loss, it would happen by now.

In my PalmPilot days, I could definitely tell a difference after about a year, but that was probably due more to the precise poking of a stylus.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.