Synaptics, the company behind the technology used in many laptop touchpads, was here at CES showing off the next generations of touch you’ll see on upcoming notebooks.
The new touchpads, some of which are being used already in laptops introduced by Lenovo, use image sensing technology. That allows them to sense more than just a couple fingers and means that you can use more complicated gestures to get things done on your notebook.
In tablets (Synaptics also does touch technology for tablet screens), that’ll mean the ability to use all ten fingers to control your device. That’s something the iPad can do now, but other tablets generally can’t.
The image sensors also do a better job of figuring out when you really mean to use the touchscreen and when you’ve just brushed your palm over it by accident.
The new technology can also tell how hard you’re pushing down on the screen. That’s useful in drawing programs so that you can get a thicker, darker line when you push in and a thin, light line when you just graze the touchpad.
The most notable change, though, may be in how you click the new touchpads. Many touchpads no longer have separate buttons for mouse clicks. But they are hinged, meaning its easy to click at the bottom of the touchscreen, and increasingly harder as you move upwards. Series 3 touchpads, which should be on laptops by June, have no hinge -- the whole pad moves up and down. That makes it a cinch to click anywhere on the pad.