Synaptics: PC Trackpads Getting Four-Finger Gestures

PC trackpads have tended to lag behind their MacBook counterparts, but the gap's narrowing today. Synaptics—the same folks who introduced the buttonless, clickable PC trackpad last year, are adding four-finger gestures and more goodies with their TouchPad-IS platform.

In addition to the multi-finger action, Synaptics is showing off what it calls ClickEQ: a uniform force and uniform click depth trackpad designed for smaller form notebooks and netbooks that saves real estate by eliminating the need for buttons.

It's not clear yet when these upgrades will reach OEMs—and, subsequently, your computers—but as someone who enjoys a good four-fingered swipe now and then, I hope it's soon.

Synaptics Demonstrates ClickPad™ and Gesture Innovations at COMPUTEX

More Intuitive Features Enable an Exciting and Productive PC Experience

Taipei, Taiwan – June 1, 2010 – Expanding its market-winning TouchPad™ family of solutions, Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA), a leading developer of human interface solutions for mobile computing, communications, and entertainment devices, is demonstrating several industry firsts at COMPUTEX 2010. The newest touch technologies bring a broad range of customization and usage models to PC OEMs, application developers, and consumers.

Synaptics is showing the first, fully capable, multi-finger PC TouchPad-IS™ family of products, which can accurately recognize four-finger gestures (the PS/2 interface maximum), based on Synaptics' new Image Sensing Technology. The new TouchPad-IS platform, found in the Series 3 TouchPad's and ClickPads, also demonstrate SYNAPTICS | SmartSense™ technology, which prevents accidental activation of the cursor when a user's palm unintentionally contacts the TouchPad. This latest TouchPad development brings multi-finger capabilities of a touchscreen right onto the PC TouchPad.

Building on its ClickPad™ product launched at COMPUTEX 2009, Synaptics is demonstrating SYNAPTICS | ClickEQ™, the industry's first hinge-less uniform force, uniform click depth ClickPad mechanical design, which makes it easier for users to activate typical "button" actions. Addressing the exacting demands of smaller and standard notebook PC form factors, ClickPad eliminates the need for physical buttons — the TouchPad is the button — and provides a larger area for gestures.

In addition, the new Synaptics ClickPad features ClickSmart™ technology, which enables users to control the left and right button commands on their ClickPad universally. Users and OEMs are not burdened with having to select click usage behaviors. ClickSmart provides a new "universal" support mode that accommodates both traditional and modern user click behaviors.

"Both content creation and consumption on the notebook PC are quickly evolving, and we continue to develop TouchPad technology that helps our OEM customers to differentiate their products and stay ahead," said Mark Vena, vice president of Synaptics' PC business unit. "With our strong leadership position in the notebook TouchPad space, Synaptics' solutions have been exposed to a wide range of business and consumer usage models — giving us an expert perspective on how to shape human interfaces for consumer electronics."

Instrumental in the new Series 3 TouchPad family, are new gesture capabilities in the SYNAPTICS | Gesture Suite™ (SGS™) and updated SYNAPTICS | Scrybe™ gesture workflow technology. A user-profiles feature is included that lets TouchPad users store their preferred settings and allows OEMs to offer recommended settings, which eases customer support. Additionally, new OEM customization capabilities for Synaptics gesture workflow technology, Scrybe (www.uscrybe.com), will be previewed.

"Together, the Synaptics Series 3 TouchPad Family with the latest gesture technologies provide OEMs and application developers the most flexibility and differentiation in notebook PC designs, and give users more control over the way they navigate documents, music, videos, and the Internet," said Ted Theocheung, Synaptics general manager of PC and digital home ecosystem. "A new API extends enhanced gesture technology into rich touch experiences for OEM and application developer solutions."