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Synaptics Introduces Four-Finger Multi-Touch and MacBook Style TouchPads


Synaptics Introduces Four-Finger Multi-Touch and MacBook Style TouchPads

Not wanting to let Apple have all the multi-touch fun, Synaptics has taken touch input up a gear, demonstrating a new four-point, multi-touch capable touchpad. As well as picking up four-fingers, the new pads will also be able to recognise when your palm touches the pad accidentally and know to ignore it.

In conjunction to this the company has also improved its buttonless ClickPad design that debuted this time last year by giving it a "hinge-less uniform force, uniform click depth" operation. In other words, it's created an equivalent of the touchpad used on the latest Apple MacBooks. If you press one area, the whole thing depresses. In contrast, the original ClickPad simple had two conventional buttons incorporated into the bottom edge of the touchpad surface.

Synaptics was showing off a demo model implenting both technologies built into an HP Envy, which is the only laptop we've seen to also feature an original ClickPad. Being as the Envy is a clear shot at the MacBook, the fact that it's the first model to sport this new style touchpad is rather amusing but we won't dwell on this point. The important thing is that it works superbaly well.

The touchpad itself is really responsive and feels great (something that's helped by the surface HP has used) and the click works as well as you could hope. Press anywhere on the surface and you get a nice positive click from the pad. There's no wobble, delay from pressing your finger to activating the button, or any other such annoyances. it just works. Likewise, the four-finger multi-touch gestures worked really well, allowing you to switch between Windows with the swipe of a hand for instance. All we need now is for laptops to start shipping with the tech, and we don't know when that might be, though given the demo model looked pretty complete, it probably won't be too long.

In other news, synpatics has also released a new version of its, Scrybe, gesture recognition technology. So as well as the default multi-touch gestures you can also specify your own. For instance, a circle for refreshing a webpage, or an F for opening firefox. The new version of Scrybe is free and compatible with any Synaptics touchpad.


June 3, 2010, 3:33 pm

Loads of new HP laptops have this style of clickpad.


June 3, 2010, 4:36 pm

Excellent news. One of the reasons I keep my unibody Macbook - which now exclusively runs Windows 7 - is because the touchpad has no rival. If Synaptics delivers on this I can move to another brand so I can actually enjoy a decent battery life as opposed to Apple's woeful power management for Windows.


June 3, 2010, 4:52 pm

Is this track-pad on the new HP Envy 17 and 14 laptops that are being released imminently?


June 3, 2010, 6:13 pm

"Hinge-less uniform force, uniform click depth" suggests it'll actually be a step up from the Macbook trackpad, which hinges along the back and thus is easier to click (and clicks further) at the front end.


June 3, 2010, 6:14 pm

Is this driver update or a totally new pad - asking as my HP as the same type of track pad as the envy (multitouch)?


June 3, 2010, 10:17 pm

There's an official HP driver for Synaptics pads.

It supports two- and three-fingers on almost ANY synaptics pad (even old ones). It doesn't have to be in a HP laptop either.

I know it appears too good to be true, but: Yes! You can all get a free multi-touch upgrade for your existing laptops! I've tried it (doubtfully), but it worked fantastically!



July 22, 2010, 9:24 am

Edward Chester, can you verify if this touchpad is used on the HP Envy 14/17? Your article seems to suggest this. Since these are the only new HP computer models coming out in the near future I'm hoping the 14/17 was the test model you saw... thanks.

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