RIM have applied for a patent which details a hybrid touchscreen, combining both resistive and capacitive elements to improve accuracy as well as support multitouch, gestures and other functionality. The patent app, titled “electronic device and touch screen display”, describes a regular twin-layer resistive panel which recognizes position by the physical contact point between the two layers, and a capacitive sensor attached to the outermost resistive layer.
The system would be beneficial as it would support the stylus/fingernail input of a resistive touchscreen – useful in Asia, where character recognition is a highly-desirable feature – as well as the fashionable multitouch and zero-pressure gestures familiar from devices such as Apple’s iPhone. It would also mean that low-pressure touches could be registered – via the capacitive layer – such as to select an option, before a harder press is recognized by the resistive layer to confirm a choice.
Of course, combining the two technologies would result in a more expensive touchscreen layer over all, in all practicality limiting the setup to high-end smartphones. Still, RIM has already shown some interest in dual-touch devices, such as the BlackBerry Storm’s “ClickThrough” display.
[via Unwired View]