Great idea: Capacitive touchscreen, no bezel

500x_islate_02Okay, I might owe Freescale an apology for wondering aloud if the bezel on their tablet design is too wide, as I have been reminded this morning that going the other direction can be even worse. I refer to Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo sharing his dream of an Apple iSlate, which looks highly elegant but…

Apple iSlate should be this simple. With an aluminum or white polycarbonate body, perhaps even rubberized, and no bezel whatsoever, with a very thin black frame.

Yep, “no bezel whatsoever.” Now, I do realize such a design looks really cool, but assuming it has a capacitive touchscreen, how exactly is one supposed to handle it without accidentally triggering something the screen on a regular basis? Sure, it’d be easy enough to vise between two hands, but unless it floats, it will need to be grabbed by one hand every now and then, and it’s not realistic to turn off the screen in every instance (not that the concept includes the screen lock button).

Sorry, dude. It’s a pretty picture, but unless ergonomic defiance has become a good thing, I would not call this concept “exactly how this thing should be,” particularly since the power button, speakers, and charging port also weren’t considered. Definitely not the right time to use the term “exactly.”

9 Comments

  1. Frank

    01/04/2010 at 11:27 am

    all the mentioned issues can be easily solved by software, it’s really no issue.
    And I’ve never seen a tablet PC with a power connector on top of the display. The connectors, and also the on/off switch have enough room on the side of the tablet.

    There’s only one real issue with this current design. Its edges are sharp and thus it’s not comfortable to use.

    So the ideal tablet would look like the pictured, just with a tad larger bezel, which is flattened at the edges, making it slim at the edges, comfortable to write on it.
    All in all is one of the most important factors of a Tablet PC the thinness. The higher the less comfortable it gets.
    The bezel could be even larger at the short sides, similar to the iPhone, as long as two long OLED displays are placed there then, for shortcuts and other stuff.

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  2. Philip Seyfi

    01/04/2010 at 11:32 am

    @Frank: Could you please elaborate on yow the holding problem could be solved by software?

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  3. Sumocat

    01/04/2010 at 11:54 am

    Frank: I don’t know how software can solve the lack of a charging port.

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  4. GoodThings2Life

    01/04/2010 at 12:51 pm

    Yeah, how does software help with a lack of front-facing speakers? I mean, are you telling me that I have to hold it in my hand and magically hope to never cover the speaker? Or I could set it on the couch and cover them completely, etc.

    Get real.

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  5. Frank

    01/04/2010 at 6:27 pm

    @software edges: there are many possible options. None is perfect but I also don’t develop such a device, so excuse the not perfect ideas:
    Just hold your tablet. How do you hold it. Most probably will the thumb touch the display. And most often the whole thumb and not just the finger tip. It’s easy to detect this ‘gesture’ that the thumb is coming from the edge. And then the software just has to filter it out.
    Additionally is the thumb tip surface most often larger than the surface of the other fingers. At the borders you can compare the size of the currently recognized fingers and compare it with the size of the maybe 6 last finger touches.
    You can also add a ‘capacitive line’ around the display border and the whole tablet. So each time you hold your tablet you touch this line and the hardware/software is able to determine the position of the holding hand, allowing to filter out accidental touches.
    You can also use optical solutions or even better software algorithms. Those were just my ideas after a minute thinking about solutions.

    @charging port: Sumocat, take a look at your tablet PC. Where is the charging port located? Why shouldn’t on the pictured slate be enough space for a power socket at the same position? If it’s not thick enough for a round power socket, as your tablet is, then don’t use a round socket, use something like the MagSafe, use a micro USB styled one. And if you mean that there’s not enough space for a power socket because the tablet is so thin, has no bezel and the display is so thick that there’s not enough space between the display and the bottom, then you’re wrong. There’s always enough space. And maybe is the used display a OLED panel, super thin, then there’s plenty space.
    Or don’t use a plug at all, charge it wireless. And because the pictured slate hopefully also has a docking station you don’t even have to bother with the power connector, too often, you just place it on the docking station when you’re at home and that’s it.

    @front-facing speakers: Many current convertible/slate tablet PCs also don’t have front facing speakers, but ok. I don’t know what tablet PC you use, GoodThings2Life, but I can promise you, that it’s easy to hold your tablet PC in slate mode so that the only one or one of the two speakers gets covered by the holding hand. However, the pictured tablet PC has a small bezel, enough to add two front facing speakers with the same sound quality current tablet PC speakers offer. But you can also just add the speakers to the side, to the left and right, or somewhere else. Or do it like some other tablet PC manufacturers do and place it at the backside of the tablet. Every mobile phone has enough space for a speaker and often have the speakers at the side, and most of them have a better sound than some notebooks.

    And if you replace the idiotic capacitive touchscreen with a good resistive touchscreen, like the touchscreen developed by Stantum which has ‘pressure’ sensitivity, multitouch, is super precise and allows you to use a pen to write notes on it, just add good software again and you’re holding the future in your hands.

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  6. Sumocat

    01/04/2010 at 6:43 pm

    Frank: I mean there’s no port. Again, it’s a great mockup, but “exactly” as is, there are no ports.

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  7. Peninsider

    01/05/2010 at 3:56 pm

    To answer the question about accidental touch, just think about how the Surface worked… The newer generation of capacitive multitouch will actually “image” the touched areas on the screen. Eliminate any “blob” that is too big or is wrongly-shaped to be a finger tip and voila. Otherwise, checking for specific sorts of touch interaction at the screen edges (e.g. continuous touched areas that continue out beyond the edge of the display active area) is another way.

    Now, this needs a bit more scanning speed and some more sophisticated firmware to do perfectly so power consumption and cost becomes a question. But at this point it is just an engineering question, no new tech really required.

    Of course, this “knowing how the user is holding the tablet” stuff could even be a feature. Imagine if you had a system that could determine if you were using the tablet in right or left-handed orientation based on the “edge image” shapes and then reorients screen navigation elements automatically, etc.

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  8. Brett Gilbertson

    01/05/2010 at 7:58 pm

    I find it hard to see how software could solve a problem like this without causing more issues. There’s too much abstraction and it is just not necessary for aesthetics only…

    Reply

  9. arnold

    01/06/2010 at 5:56 am

    Conserving power is a necessity these days.

    Reply

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