Apple's iPhone has been successful, in part, because of its multi-touch abilities. The smartphone enables users to "pinch" the screen to zoom in and out of Web pages, and it also has support for gesture controls. With its ClearPad 3000 series, Synaptics is trying to bring this level of interactivity to a higher level.
Synaptics envisions a host of new applications and devices that could be aided by having the screen recognize 10 different touch inputs. For example, a user could close an app or document by crumpling it up with multiple fingers. The technology could have ramifications for mobile gaming.
The sensors for registering the touch input can be as large as 8 inches diagonally, which means it could work for smartphones, cell phones, or mobile Internet devices. Synaptics said it expects to see commercially-available handsets using this technology in 2010. Synaptics said the screen can recognize objects such as keys that are pressed against the screen.
"While other vendors may be able to show a slick demo of their multi-touch sensor solutions, only Synaptics understands the complexities of making them work in the harsh, challenging environments of real-world products," said Gopal Garg, senior VP of Synaptics' handheld business, in a statement.
The company is hoping to capitalize on the growing demand for touchscreen with multi-touch capabilities, as a DisplaySearch report estimates this market will grow from $800 million in 2008 to over $4 billion in 2015. While capacitive technology will continue to flourish on devices like the Palm Pre, BlackBerry Storm, and myTouch 3G, resistive touchscreens will still have a large market because of its ability to support handwriting recognition, which is primarily a draw in the Asian markets.
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