A great post on BerryReview.com, entitled “Storm Is Packing A Synaptics Touchscreen” explains that the UI technology behind—or should I say, beneath—the BlackBerry Storm’s touch screen ClickThrough technology is based on none other than Synaptics’ ClearPad custom module. That’s the same touch screen tech that’s currently being used within the first Google Android-powered smartphone, T-Mobile’s G1, which is manufactured by HTC.
“A ClearPad sensor is typically placed over a viewable surface, such as an LCD. The underlying graphical user interface buttons and controls are activated by touch. ClearPad sensors are ideal for use with dynamic GUIs. The size and location of GUI controls can change according to application or mode of use.”
“ClearPad technology supports a wide variety of advanced navigation methods and gestures for superior usability such as single-finger Tap, Double Tap, Tap & Hold/Tap & Drag, Scroll, Press, and Flick as well as multi-finger gestures such as Pinch. One-finger “flick” scrolling makes it quick and easy to navigate long lists. Two-finger “pinch” gestures can be used for zooming-in and zooming-out.”
What the BerryReview post doesn’t really explain is that even though the same base technology is employed in both the BlackBerry Storm and T-Mobile G1, the implementation of that technology allows for different touch functionality.
According to InfoSyncWorld.com, the touch screen BlackBerry Storm also uses force sensors along with Synaptics’ capacitive sensor technology, allowing for enhanced precision and advanced functionality.
“Synaptics’ proven capacitive sensing technology can also be applied to force sensors. In a capacitive force sensor, two metal plates, separated by a small air gap, are positioned close together. Force applied on one of the plates changes the capacitance between them. Synaptics has developed a capacitive force sensing technology suitable for applications as diverse as pointing sticks, vacuum gauges, and high-resolution pressure sensors.”
So while both the BlackBerry Storm and T-Mobile G1 use Synaptics’ touch screen UI technology, the Storm’s provides a different sort of tactile feedback and UI experience than the G1.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.