Synaptics ClearPad 3250 capacitive touchscreen hands-on (video)

In the grand scheme of things, one millimeter may not seem like a lot, but in the smartphone arms race toward ever-slimmer devices, measurements like that matter. Synaptics, best known for building laptop touchpads, has ventured into the capacitive touchscreen realm with a new panel that promises to save exactly that much space: 1mm. But that's only the start. You see, the thinner display profile is the result of Synaptics melding the touch-sensing layer and the display into one, using what it calls in-cell technology, with the result being something roughly comparable to Samsung's Super AMOLED implementation. The benefit of going with Synaptics, however, is that the company's tech is compatible with all display types, meaning that everything from garden variety LCDs to high-density IPS panels can be infused with a bit of touch sensitivity. Additional benefits include extra brightness, as there is one fewer layer for light to get through, and significantly higher sensitivity than on most current generation touch panels. You can see a pretty compelling demo of that on video just past the break. The ClearPad 3250 should find its way to shipping devices over the next nine months, with its current iteration capable of being fitted to screens up to five inches in size and a subsequent model scaling all the way out to eight inches.

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Synaptics Introduces World's First Capacitive Multi-Touch Interface Solutions for use with Integrated Displays in Mobile Devices

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Feb. 8, 2011 – Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA), announced today the world's first line of capacitive multi-touch interface solutions for use with integrated displays, the ClearPad™ Series 3 and Series 4. With on-cell and in-cell integrated displays, Synaptics makes it possible to seamlessly enable capacitive multi-touch sensing in mobile devices. Both ClearPad Series 3 and Series 4 are on-cell and in-cell display ready.

The ClearPad Series 4's revolutionary approach combines Synaptics state-of-the-art ClearPad multi-touch technology with the display driver (DDI) into a single-chip solution that delivers the most advanced display noise management and best-in-class capacitive sensing performance. Synaptics' display integration solutions provide cost effective capacitive multi-touch interfaces for mobile devices and provide the thinnest form factor with the complete elimination of a discrete sensor.

"Display-integrated touch is a whole new paradigm for touch sensor design, enabling our customers to deliver a thinner, higher-performing, multi-touch experience to the end user. ClearPad Series 3 and our new Series 4 solution are the only products on the market that can offer this" said Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager of the Handheld Division at Synaptics. "Series 4 further expands the design options with touch-enabled DDI, enabling display manufacturers to develop their display product offerings with Synaptics touch interfaces."

"Integrating touch into display is the best way to lower cost, reduce components, reduce weight/thickness, and improve performance." said Dr. Jennifer Colegrove, vice president, Emerging Display Technologies at DisplaySearch. "The worldwide market value of touch screen modules will reach about $14 billion in 2016, from $4.3 billion in 2009."

Synaptics is actively working with leading display companies to serve major OEMs worldwide. ClearPad Series 3 and Series 4 for display integration solutions will be available in the first half of 2011. For more detailed information contact visit