Tag Archives | Synaptics

A Concept Phone Worth Keeping an Eye On

Synaptics, which makes a significant percentage of the world’s touchscreens and even more of its laptop touchpads, has announced Fuse, a platform and concept phone that aims to help figure out what next-generation smartphones might look and feel like.

It’s a joint venture with chipmaker Texas Instruments, interface designers TheAlloy and TAT, and haptic-feedback technology provider Immersion.  And it combines multiple interesting touches, both familiar (multi-touch) and new (my favorite: You can swipe your finger around on the back of the phone to control the interface).

PCMag.com’s Sascha Segan did a nice video explainer on the phone’s features, which I’ll borrow right here (here’s his story).

I haven’t laid eyes or hands on the Fuse yet, and every smartphone on the market today–good or bad–proves that pleasing experiences are about 90 percent integration and execution and only ten percent cool technology. But I’m looking forward to seeing it in person, and seeing the ideas it contains turn into features in shipping phones. Synaptics says it’ll demo its concept version at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show; look for phones based on it to show up starting in mid-2010.

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Touchscreens Get Cheaper, Bigger, and…Touchier

SynapticsEven in the era of the iPhone, devices with touchscreen interfaces aren’t anywhere near pervasive–and some of the gadgets that do have touchscreens aren’t that great. Synaptics, the company that makes touch-input hardware (including a high percentage of the world’s laptop touchpads) aims to help change that with a couple of new touchscreens it’s introducing for hardware makers to incorporate into their gizmos.

The new touchscreens include the ClearPad 1000, a low-cost capacitive model that only offers single-touch input–but which is priced to compete with resistive touchscreens, which aren’t as precise as capacitive ones. (If you’ve ever used a touch-enabled phone whose screen is more frustrating than effortless, chances are good it was a resistive model).

At the high end of the market, Synaptics is selling the ClearPad 3000, a model that allows for gestures involving as many as ten fingers at once. That’s a lot of fingers-and the 3000 is available in sizes up to a roomy eight inches, which means it may show up in tablet computers of the sort that don’t quite exist yet but which lots of people are talking about these days. Synaptics already offers a midrange touchscreen (now called the ClearPad 2000), which offers two-finger multitouch.

Devices with the new screens may begin to show up later this year. It wasn’t all that long ago that gadget screens made the leap from monochrome to color; it wouldn’t stun me if a very high percentage add touch capability over the next few years.

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