The use of touch screens on mobile phones is already soaring, and the introduction of a new line of small computing devices designed to connect people to the internet is also fueling their use, a manufacturing executive said Thursday.

The touch screen market will grow to a value of $3.1 billion this year from $2.78 billion last year, said Kevin Chuang, an executive at Swenc Technology, at a conference in Taipei.

Three trends are driving the market, starting with the iPhone craze, he said. But what really boosted volume handset sales was a chip developed by Taiwan's MediaTek that made it easy for companies to put touch screens on handsets. MediaTek's main customers are in China, and the chips have been used in scores of handsets there, he said.

A new category of devices is also coming out that is increasing touch screen use, known variously as ultramobile PCs (UMPCs), mobile internet devices (MIDs) and a growing list of names.

"Most people buying iPhones today are using them more for accessing internet content than even for phone calls," he said. That's a sign ultramobile PCs and the like will probably find a place in global markets.

Swenc Technology is a producer of touch screen components. Chuang was speaking at a DisplaySearch conference in Taipei.