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Input Devices Hardware

Synaptics Working On Advanced Touchscreen For Phones 62

angry tapir writes "Touch specialist Synaptics is working on technologies that will allow touchscreens to mimic the feel of a physical keypad, in order to make smartphones easier to use, according to company technology strategist Andrew Hsu. The goal is to build a touchscreen with the tactile feedback of a keypad. Users should be able run their fingers over virtual keys and get the same sensation as a mechanical keypad gives, allowing them to feel where the buttons are, and then activate them by pushing down a little bit harder, according to Hsu."
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Synaptics Working On Advanced Touchscreen For Phones

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  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:28PM (#37404878)

    IBM (now Lenovo) has the right pointer-stick mechanism, but the wrong location. The stick SHOULD go directly below the spacebar, aligned by a line perpendicular to the spacebar that would run through the center of the "B" key. Fujitsu got the right location, but patented a crap pointer-stick mechanism. Unfortunately, Fujitsu patented the stick's LOCATION too, so nobody besides Sony (with a sufficiently-large patent portfolio to bully Fujitsu into submission) has ever dared to put the stick there.

    Don't believe me that it's the ideal location? Try this experiment: hold your hands so the thumb is over the Trackpoint the same way it would be if it were centered below the spacebar and try moving it. Ahhhh. Much nicer, isn't it? Your thumb is a lot stronger, so you can give the stick a good hard shove to hurl the pointer to the other side of the screen quickly instead of exerting your index finger in a hyperextended position.

    Personally, I think keyboards should have TWO Trackpoint-style pointer sticks: one in the "GHB" triangle, and one centered below the spacebar, with 4 buttons flanking the lower stick (2 per side, placed so whichever thumb ISN'T on the stick can easily press one or the other, keeping in mind the ~45-degree axis of comfortable motion for the thumb. Then, make them all software-configurable, so you can assign the 4 buttons to be "left", "right", and/or some other function as you desire, and either use both pointer sticks as mice, or reassign one to be for scrolling/panning. I'd personally use the "GHB" one as a faux scrollwheel ;-)

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!