Touchscreens are great, but if you’ve ever found yourself tapping repeatedly at tiny onscreen links on your smartphone then you’ll probably know that mouse-style precision can still be welcome. CrucialTec isn’t a name consumers are likely familiar with, but your thumb may well have got up close with their hardware. The company produces optical trackpads, and they’re making a push in the US with their latest ultra-slim model.
Usually to be found nestling underneath a smartphone display, the CrucialTec units have also been adopted in Samsung, LG and Sharp MIDs and it’s there that significant growth is expected. As tablets running Android and other platforms proliferate, the touchscreen isn’t always the best interface: games, for instance, benefit from keeping your hands away from the screen, while it’s also generally easier to walk and use a slate while holding it at the edges and using your thumb to navigate.
As owners of recent BlackBerry handsets have discovered – many of which already use the company’s units – optical trackpads are also generally more reliable than their trackball counterparts, and CrucialTec says their ultra-thin module is compatible with Android, Windows, Symbian, Linux and just about any OS. Expect it to start spreading across US devices through 2011; touchscreens aren’t the only way to make mobile devices finger-friendly.