Mobile
Commentary
8/17/2009
02:59 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%

HTC Applies For Patent - Stylus For Capacitive Screens

PDA's from yesteryear had a screen that was resistive. It works great with a stylus, or any pointed object that was hard enough to press down on the screen but not so hard as to scratch it. Windows Mobile devices currently use this type of screen. For finger touch though, capacitive screens work much better, such as the screen on the iPhone. These screens track the electrical current from your finger. The problem is, a stylus doesn't work on that type of screen, which can present problems of its

PDA's from yesteryear had a screen that was resistive. It works great with a stylus, or any pointed object that was hard enough to press down on the screen but not so hard as to scratch it. Windows Mobile devices currently use this type of screen. For finger touch though, capacitive screens work much better, such as the screen on the iPhone. These screens track the electrical current from your finger. The problem is, a stylus doesn't work on that type of screen, which can present problems of its own.HTC has applied for a patent according to WMPowerUser that will allow you to work on a capacitive screen with a stylus. This has several advantages. First, in many Asian countries with more complex character sets, a stylus is far and away the best method for text entry compared to your finger. Second, there may be programs that can benefit from the finer control a stylus gives, such as a graphical program.

In doing this, HTC is trying to bring together the bet of both capacitive and resistive worlds. From the patent application:

However, in order to cater to the user's operation mode of using a finger, icons displayed on a screen must be configured in an appropriate size to prevent the user from miss touching the icons. Furthermore, a part of the screen is often shielded by finger of the user when the capacitive touch panel is used. Moreover, a conventional stylus has a small head, so that a user can click small icons conveniently, but the conventional stylus is only applicable to resistive touch panels, but not applicable to capacitive touch panels.

This will give manufactures more options to cater to different markets. It will also allow software developers to not feel so constrained. Even when it comes to data input, sometimes I'll switch my phone into handwriting recognition mode and just write on the screen with a stylus, something that would be awkward at best with your finger.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.