Human interface solutions developer Synaptics, makers of touchpads, touchscreens and touch interpretation software, are showcasing a pair of new technologies today that will be included in upcoming notebooks and Ultrabooks this holiday. ClickPad 2.0 improves the company's design and mechanical implementation on the first iterations of ClickPad while TypeGuard aims to improve recognition of false input from users to improve performance and experience. Even better, this combination has been recognized as a CES Innovation 2104 Design and Engineering Award honoree.
In 2010 Synaptics released the ClickPad, a solution for hardware vendors that included the design and manufacture of the entire touchpad solution. This was a shift for the company that had previously done product licensing and custom solutions for specific vendors. There were some issues with the technology in its 1.0 and 1.5 iterations that prevented users from clicking near the top of the touchpad, for example, as well as the new wrinkle of Windows 8 gestures that weren't implemented perfectly.
With ClickPad 2.0, Synaptics claims to have addressed all of these issues including top and corner clicking capability as well making the feel of the click consistent no matter where the user might push down on the pad. Window 8 gestures can now be support by a separate, but integrated, side-pad integration option. The sides of the touch pad would be textured differently and only function as gesture controls, leaving the entirety of the touchpad face for primary input functionality.
TypeGuard is a set of software algorithms that improves false inputs that might occur during use of a laptop. Palm rejection while typing is one of the biggest annoyances for users that are frequently writing on their notebooks and with TypeGuard Synaptics claims to nearly completely remove false cursor movements, taps and scrolls.
As touchpads become larger, palm contact is going to be much more likely on notebooks and preventing these kinds of accidental inputs is going to be crucial to providing a good experience for the consumer. Apple has long been considered the leader in this area (and with touchpads in general) but Synaptics believes it has matched them with this combination of ClickPad 2.0 and TypeGuard. Doing its own in-house studies has revealed a 73% decrease in false movements but we will obviously need our own hands on time with an integrated product to see how it acts over extended use.
The good news is that might be pretty soon. The HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook actually implements both of these technologies and is available for preorder in various locations.
HP will be offering this machine for $999 with a 128GB SSD, 4GB of memory, Intel Haswell processors and Windows 8.1. I am hoping to get one of these units in for a review and to use it to evaluate the strong claims that Synaptics is making about its new touch technologies.
As a frequent user of Apple portable devices, the touch experience on them has always exceeded that of the Windows environment and I'm hopeful that we can finally level the playing field.
See the full CES Innovation award press release after the break!
Synaptics ClickPad™ 2.0 Wins CES Innovations 2014
Design and Engineering Award
Synaptics’ High-Performance ClickPad 2.0 for Next-Generation Notebooks Recognized for
Advanced Capacitive Sensing
SAN JOSE, Calif. – November 19, 2013 – Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA), a leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced that it was named as an
International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for its ClickPad™ 2.0 technology. The Synaptics ClickPad 2.0 is the most advanced capacitivesensing notebook touchpad technology available combining a unique hinge-spring mechanism for best in class durability and the industry’s most responsive and consistent click performance.
ClickPad 2.0 enables all the functionality of a standard notebook touchpad, but with a sleek and elegant surface that eliminates the need for physical buttons. With no buttons, ClickPad 2.0 allows OEMs to integrate up to 30 percent larger sensors than standard touchpads, resulting in more surface area for new features. ClickPad 2.0 also delivers the thinnest possible ClickPad design with no warping or unnecessary movement. This enhanced durability reduces the amount of flexure in the overall design and eliminates activation dead zones typically found in touchpad corners. Along with the mechanical design, Synaptics developed TypeGuard™, an accidental contact mitigation algorithm that can differentiate between a finger and a palm, helping to minimize unintended inputs.
“Synaptics is delighted that ClickPad 2.0 is being recognized by the Consumer Electronics Association for the level of innovation and design quality it brings to the notebook PC market,” said Godfrey Cheng, vice president of marketing, Synaptics Human Interface
Systems Design (HISD) division. “Designed from top to bottom by Synaptics engineers, ClickPad 2.0 delivers greatly improvedtactile feedback and consistent button activation, giving OEMs the ability to provide the best touchpad experience in the market for consumers.”
The Innovations Design and Engineering Awards, produced by the Consumer Electronics Association, is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics products since 1976. New technologies are judged based on engineering achievement and specs; aesthetic and design qualities; and user value and innovative features, among other key attributes. 2014 honorees, including the Synaptics ClickPad 2.0, will be on display at the Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Showcase at the 2014 International CES tradeshow in Las Vegas from January 7-10.
Synaptics will showcase ClickPad 2.0 and its entire portfolio of human interface products at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Customers and suppliers are encouraged to contact their Synaptics partner to arrange a meeting time at CES. Media are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting time.