With the rise of the iPhone, many handset-makers have tried to replicate Apple’s success with capacitive touchscreen displays, abandoning old technologies such as resistive touchscreens. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both touchscreen technologies, for now, gesture support, ease and accuracy of tapping, and the ability to use high-end materials, such as Gorilla Glass, to protect the display seem to give capacitive touchscreens the edge on the market, and with Synaptics’s push behind its ClearPad 1100 Series capacitive touch panel, resistive technologies may go by the wayside.
Synaptics is targeting its 1100 Series ClearPad touchscreens at manufacturers who make mid-range and low-end touchscreen smartphones. Because cost has always been a concern in that market, manufacturers have historically chosen resistive touchscreen solutions to reduce costs. However, with newer user interfaces that promise to be more intuitive, the downside is that resistive touchscreen requires pressure, so users have to press harder into the screen, to register input. Also, resistive technology cannot handle gestures, such as two-finger pinch and zoom.
With the 1100 Series ClearPad, Synpatics is saying that its capacitive touchscreen solution is more economical to implement than resistive touchcsreen while at the same time offering the benefits of capacitive display solutions. This would lower the barrier to entry for manufacturers to adopt capacitive touchscreen solutions for low-end smartphones. With the ClearPad 1100, Synpatics says that there is fewer moving parts, meaning it’s more cost efficient to manufacture. For the end users, multi-touch gestures are also supported. For those users who prefer using a stylus for input–for such applications as inking–Synpatics says that a capacitive touchscreen-compatible stylus can be used.