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 hardware that powers these features in next year’s Android phones. The tech could 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

Availability: 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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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.