Fujitsu multitouch resistive touchscreens bring cheap pinch-zooming to Windows 7 notebooks

In the touchscreen pecking order, resistive panels have found themselves with a bad rap compared to their fashionable capacitive cousins. However, Fujitsu is hoping to change all that, with a range of 5.6-, 7- and 12.1-inch resistive touchscreen panels that are capable of recognizing multitouch gestures but also working with gloved fingers or passive styluses.

While resistive screens are more commonly associated with single-touch input, these Fujitsu panels can handle pinch, pull, rotate, flick, swipe and scroll gestures. They're also more affordable than the new breed of capacitive panels with stylus support; priced from $60 to $120, in fact, though cheaper if bought in bulk.

The panels have been in production in Japan since midway through 2009, but this will mark their debut in the North American market. Considering Fujitsu is one of the few companies still offering convertible touchscreen notebooks, and that these resistive multitouch panels are Windows 7 certified, we wouldn't be surprised to see them show up in affordable tablets from January 2011.

[via Akihabara News]

Press Release:

Fujitsu Components America, Inc.
Fujitsu Offers Windows® 7, Multi-Input Resistive Touch Panels as Standard Product to North American Customers

Fujitsu Multi-Input resistive touchpanel

Sunnyvale, CA, November 16, 2010 — Fujitsu Components America, Inc., the first manufacturer to obtain Windows® 7 logo certification for a resistive multi-input touch panel, is now marketing those touch panels in North America. Already in production in Japan since August 2009, the new multi-input panels' increased functionality promises to expand touch capability into many new applications and markets, including harsh environments.

Fujitsu, the first manufacturer to release a Windows 7 certified, analog-resistive, multi-input touch panel, is now the first to release these panels as a standard product.

Fujitsu's panels register single-tap, multi-touch input (pinch, pull, rotate, flick, swipe and scroll gestures) and handwriting, using any object, such as a gloved or bare finger, pen cap or the corner of a credit card. They feature high accuracy, even in extended range environments, as well as fast tracking, consistent inking, low power consumption, and is available with light touch force option.

According to Bruce DeVisser, Fujitsu Components America product manager for input devices, many users are already familiar with multi-touch gestures from consumer products. "Applying these simple, intuitive on-screen gestures using resistive technology, which is inherently suited to industrial devices and instrumentation, increases device functionality as well as user efficiency and productivity," he said.

To simplify panel integration, Fujitsu offers control ICs with either a USB or a UART serial interface, as well as development kits and Windows 7 device drivers. A single-axis compact flex tail simplifies mechanical design, offers improved reliability, and reduces potential EMI and ESD effects.

Initially, the new standard Windows-7 multi-input touch panels (FID1530) will be available in wide aspect ratio 5.6-inch, 7.0-inch and 12.1-inch sizes. They are priced from $60 to $120, depending on size, in single-piece quantities. Delivery is stock to 16 weeks, ARO, with initial availability in January 2011. Fujitsu will continue to offer custom multi-input panel designs.