Synaptics - who, if you look in your laptop's Device Manager or equivalent, you might find make your touchpad - have announced two new gestures that their hardware supports. ChiralRotate and Two-Finger Flick will be particularly useful in photo viewing and editing apps, lending themselves naturally to - in the case of the former - rotating images, and - in the latter - moving between images.
Synaptics - who are behind the trackpads found on many notebook computers - have announced the general OEM/ODM availability of their proximity sensors, which up until now have only been available in Microsoft's Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 Bluetooth Keyboard. The technology recognises user presence and can be linked to controls, backlights and other functionality; in the Microsoft keyboard, for instance, the system goes into standby mode automatically when the user moves away, saving battery life. Synaptics have created a new digital photo frame, with proximity-controlled touch-sensitive buttons, to demonstrate possible applications.
Synaptics are no strangers to the pages of SlashGear, and we've been lucky enough to have hands-on experience in the past with their clever touchscreen concept cellphone. Back in those pre-iPhone days the idea of an intuitive multitouch UI on a mobile device was pretty far-fetched, with Windows Mobile offering little in the way of finger-friendliness. Now Synaptics are back with their latest reference design; called 'Boomerang', it's a multi-device remote control that uses the company's capacitive touch-sensitive panels.
Label-whores, mobile pros and finger-thumpers rejoice, LG have finally made official what we long expected - the PRADA phone (otherwise masquerading as the KE850) will go on sale in Europe at the end of February, followed by Asia in March.
Overshadowed a little perhaps by both the iPhone and LG's own legal case against Apple disputing the originality of that very handset, the KE850 has a respectable feature-set operated via a very interesting UI. Its 12mm thin chassis packs tri-band EDGE, a 2-megapixel camera (with LED flash), microSD memory expansion of the as-yet-undisclosed internal storage, office file viewer, a DAP supporting MP3, ACC, ACC+, WMA and RA, as well as a video player compatible with MPEG4, H.263 and H.264 formats. All of the above are accessed through a Flash-based interface developed by Pilotfish, who partnered with Synaptics to create the Onyx concept cellphone SlashGear covered last year, and whose DNA is very much present in the PRADA phone.
SlashGear are big fans of Synaptics - their Onyx concept cellphone that we featured last year seems to have a whole lot in common with a certain mobile telephone with a fruit-themed manufacturer - and so we're pleased to be able to break the news of their latest development designed to bring advanced touch-sensitive interfaces to mainstream mass produced products. Taking advantage of the company's capacitive-sensing technology, the Synaptics OneTouch solution combines both the hardware as well as GUI-based design and development tools together with a comprehensive library of documentation covering everything from conception to mass production.
Synaptics has always produced custom solutions for manufacturers, but OneTouch will fill a market niche where in-house development is a time-driven necessity:
"The Synaptics OneTouch toolset has been built specifically to help Synapticsí customers design capacitive interface solutions that will enhance the usability and industrial design of their products. The simplified design process encapsulated in the Synaptics OneTouch solution will enable customers to explore the possibilities of capacitive sensing quickly and more autonomously" Synaptics Press Release
Looks like some congratulations are in order! Our friends over at Synaptics have been awarded the red dot online design concept award for Interaction & Communication for their Onyx prototype, as exclusively featured on SlashGear back in October 2006. Onyx is a new paradigm in gesture interface, where users control their cellphones via one and two-fingered sweeps, flicks and shapes.
We're still waiting to see the first commercial application of the technology, which combined Synaptics' proximal sensor pads and Pilotfish's GUI design, so let's hope that 2007 is the year for it! Congratulations again, guys.
SlashGear are big fans of Synaptics, human interface and hardware boffins behind the Onyx Concept phone, so it's good to hear that something they've been developing will be hitting the shelves a little sooner than the gesture-sensitive cellphone. Microsoft has decided to squeeze three of Synaptics capacitive sensing modules inside their Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 Bluetooth keyboard, marking the technology's further movement into consumer electronics.
After Apple's drearily uninteresting Bumnote, sorry, Keynote earlier this month, I've been waiting for my electronic twiddly bits to get perked up by some exciting tech news. I think today might be the day...
SlashGear has received a press release and an internal document about Onyx, a collaborative cellphone project by touch-sensor specialists Synaptics and industrial design wizards Pilotfish. Unlike many concepts, where a sleek, headline grabbing shell either runs standard software or nothing at all, or a new platform runs on bland reference hardware, part of the charm of Onyx comes from the harmony of the software/hardware interface. In fact it's this interface - and your interaction with it - that potentially makes Onyx the product of 2006.
"The real meaning of this product is about opening up the channels between hand, eyes, and device, and giving people access to actions and information in a way not possible with conventional buttons" [Brian Conner, Pilotfish]