Deservedly so, 3D Touch is being hailed as the standout feature on Apple’s new iPhone 6s. While the feature’s full potential will only be unleashed once developers have some time to play around with it, there’s no question that 3D Touch represents the most exciting advancement in mobile user interaction since Apple introduced multitouch to the mainstream back in 2007.
Not surprisingly, Android manufacturers want to get in on the fun and are already clamoring to add pressure sensitive displays to their own devices. In fact, we’ve already seen one example in the wild in the form of the Huawei Mate S, though the company’s implementation certainly leaves a lot to be desired.
That being said, Synaptics earlier today announced a new ClearForce touchscreen display controller for smartphones that, much like 3D Touch on the iPhone, can detect varying levels of pressure. Consequently, we can expect to see some Android flagships start incorporating the new displays as early as 2016.
Synaptics’ press release reads:
Synaptics Inc., the leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced broad sampling of its ClearPad® ClearForce™ force-sensing solutions. ClearForce enables OEMs to differentiate smartphones by providing customers with new dimensions in user interfaces such as speed scrolling, zoom, gaming, and text or photo editing by applying variable force with a finger or stylus. Synaptics® has been working closely with leading global OEMs and LCMs to deliver this new dimension in touch with force-enabled smartphones expected to ship in early 2016.
With a rich history in force technology dating back to 1996, including over 60 granted and pending patents worldwide, Synaptics’ third-generation force-sensing solution, ClearForce, enables global OEMs and LCMs to differentiate smartphones — with tablet, wearables, and automotive manufacturers to follow. Variable force creates numerous opportunities to invent new user interface capabilities and increases productivity for touchscreen applications.
Synaptics ClearForce Solutions:
Variable speed scrolling
Picture zoom and panning
Function preview and selection
Continuously variable gaming control functions
Unlock and wake up
Right-side mouse click behavior (open contextual menus)
Line thickness control while drawing (e.g., when writing Chinese characters and creating artwork)
Image editing (brightness, contrast, saturation)
Upper case and symbol selection (to bypass keyboard mode changes)