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Synaptics announces 3D Touch-like touchscreen controller for Android phones


From 9to5Google:

Synaptics has today announced the ClearPad 3700 force-sensing touchscreen controller, which the company hopes will be packed inside many a 2016 flagship Android smartphone. This comes just about a month after Apple’s September 9th event, at which the Cupertino company announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, both packing “3D Touch” as a headline feature…

Apple is a follower in some areas (large-screened phones being just one example), but as I mentioned last month, this technology is not one of those cases. While the Huawei Mate S was announced just barely before the iPhones 6s, it’s not likely to be until next year that most Android OEMs get on board with pressure-sensitive screens, something Synaptics says “will soon become the norm.”

Kevin Barber, the senior vice president of Synaptics’ Smart Display Division, had this to say:

This exciting next step in human interface for smartphones will soon become the norm and highlights Synaptics’ leadership in force. Early adopters of ClearForce include industry leading OEMs and LCMs seeking advanced technology that drives an enhanced and more productive user experienced.

And considering that to be the case, Synaptics’ third-generation force-sensing solution hopes to capture at least some part of the market for hardware that powers these features in next year’s Android phones. The tech will enable variable speed scrolling, new ways to zoom and pan over pictures, new contextual menus, and other features, according to Synaptics.

All of this is old news at this point for those who own an iPhone 6s, but it seems clear that there is true value to the capabilities that pressure-sensitive display panels bring. Only time will tell how Android OEMs implement the tech in their own handsets, and it will surely be interesting to see if Google implements official support in the next major version of Android.

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA), the leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced three new series of ClearPad® discrete touch controller solutions, enabling increased functionality and entirely new dimensions of touch, including force sensing for smartphones, tablets and automotive applications. This latest expansion of the ClearPad portfolio further demonstrates Synaptics’ technology leadership in discrete touch solutions, giving OEMs the ability to deliver the most innovative user experience to consumers.

“Our broad patent portfolio and years of proven experience in touch technology has once again enabled us to provide smartphone OEMs and LCMs with cutting-edge user experience solutions,” said Kevin Barber, senior vice president, general manager, Smart Display Division, Synaptics. “The latest ClearPad family of products extends into multiple market segments with exciting new functionality and underscores Synaptics’ innovation and leadership in creating unmatched touch solutions.”

Synaptics 3700 Series:

  • Latest flagship discrete touch controller for smartphones
  • Supports new technologies including ClearForce variable force sensing, and SideTouch for edge gesturing such as scroll and tap — as featured in the new Xiaomi Mi4c
  • Massive performance upgrade, doubling MIPS and memory over its predecessor to enable advanced features
  • Supports unique active and passive stylus capabilities as well as non-touch hover performance at distances up to 25mm

Synaptics 3600 Series:

  • Optimized for mainstream smartphones
  • New silicon architecture for improved touch performance
  • Supports new features without additional cost, including enhanced gloved touch, two finger tracking with moisture on display, multiple user-defined gesture recognition, and FaceDetect™ Plus, eliminating the need for a proximity sensor

Synaptics 7800 Series:

  • Optimized for large touch screens up to 17.3 inches, including notebooks, tablets and automotive applications
  • Processing power that doubles previous generation large touch screen controllers, enabling advanced features and performance needed for larger smart devices
  • Features 1mm passive pen support and excellent palm rejection performance
  • Advanced moisture and glove performance as well as low power wake-up gestures enhance user experience

ClearPad 3700 and 7800 series are both currently in mass production. ClearPad 3600 series is broadly sampling with mass production slated for Q4 2015.


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  1. Alex Moran - 7 years ago

    “IPhone 6s is stupid 3D Touch is like a long press”
    Remember that ?

    • twelve01 - 7 years ago

      I was just thinking this


    • not really, cause when i so call “long press” My icons wiggle to delete them, When I force touch (3d touch) I enjoy the fact that I can access my favorites on my phone app and absolutely love the fact that i can move my cursor more precisely

      • Alex Moran - 7 years ago

        Lol you misunderstood bro. I’m saying that’s what many android people said when 3D Touch was announced. This will all be forgotten once it reaches android.

  2. pdoobs - 7 years ago

    3d touch is nice on my 6s but i keep thinking it would be awesome on my ipad air 2…

    • incredibilistic - 7 years ago

      Just like Touch ID debuted on the iPhone 5s 3D Touch is sure to make its way into all of next year’s iPads after Apple and developers have some time to build unique experiences around it.

  3. do these guys just wait for apple to invent something and then implement their own version?

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 7 years ago

      Synaptics and its subsidiaries have worked with Apple on input solutions for years. They could be an uncredited collaborator on 3D Touch, or they could have developed a competing solution.

      • AFAIK, Synaptics worked with Apple a LOOOONG time ago. None of Apple’s great trackpads had any Synaptics tech in them. None of Synaptics pads for PC-makers have been any good. Apple has had the absolute gold standard in touch pad tech for over 12 years.

      • mrobertson21 - 7 years ago

        Bruno Fernandes it’s once again clear that you have no idea what you’re ever talking about.

      • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

        The worst part is not the amount ignorance that you spread every time you write, but the amount of sheeps that simply accept everything that they read from Mr. Random Internet guy aka Bruno.

    • The thing is many times when Apple comes out with “new” tech, it’s usually licensed tech from a third company. The people at Apple alot of times are just good at picking great emerging tech from some where else not necessarily creating it themselves.

  4. krikaoli - 7 years ago

    Jesus! They really copy everything!

  5. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    It’s not only samsung! now the whole world does copy apple.
    I’m wondering how can they do that while Apple Patented that feature? for example. Then what is the point of the Patents ?

  6. Karl Betts - 7 years ago

    One more thing for android to copy ! I really wish Apple would do thing about this !

  7. Native support for fingerprint scanners, Android Pay and now this. And people say all Apple does is copy because of… Notification centre widgets?

    • mrobertson21 - 7 years ago

      It sure is fun to be willfully obtuse with the purpose of garnering more likes on the Internet, huh?

      • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

        Its easy on the comments section on this site, as you can testify a few comments above, from some Bruno guy.

    • Most of the “new features of iOS 9 are copies of what is available in other operating systems, and even Time Travel on the Apple Watch is a blatant copy of the Pebble Time.

      So what’s your point?

  8. Also, if this does make its way to 2016 handsets, Google will introduce native support at best next summer with Android 7… And then it’ll be another 6 months before any phones actually get the update.

    • airmanchairman - 7 years ago

      Samsung, HTC and LG won’t be able to wait that long for an Android 3D Touch clone, and will likely cobble some proprietary “bodge” via TouchWiz, SenseUI and UX Layer.

      Vive la differenza – Fragmentation rides again…

  9. Harry Patel - 7 years ago

    They all copy from each other now. But I cant see this being any good unless google put it in Android N, look at huawei mate s. I see google expanding the functions of long press rather than force/3D touch,

  10. poor android fans crying about the 3d touch its ok its ok… Synaptics will help you guys get it! maybe next year lol . keep checking 9to5mac for some new features on your androids. lol


Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.