You can think of the Synaptics ForcePad as a highly sensitive pressure plate for Ultrabooks and other thin and light devices. Rather than rely on mouse clicks like the majority of standard trackpads, the ForcePad detects up to 1000 grams of pressure from all five fingers and responds accordingly. This type of force detection technology has benefits that go beneath the surface.
Just when you think you've seen it all in laptop design, Acer comes out with a unique concept that's not only a first of its kind, but potentially useful as opposed to just another gimmick. We're talking about the detachable trackpad on Acer's new Aspire Ethos series of multimedia notebooks. When not sitting snug in the laptop's wrist rest, the trackpad acts as a "MediaRemote for convenient multimedia and content enjoyment at a distance" with an orientation sensor that lets you use it either horizontally or vertically. Pretty rad, no?
Leave it to Brando to really talk up a product. The “Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard” is apparently pretty awesome if you take their word for it. It has 26 “dazzling” LEDs backlighting the keyboard. As if that wasn’t enough to sell you, it is designed to be easy to carry; by being small apparently. Then there’s the “notebook trackpad”. If you still have doubts, just remember this: it also has a laser pointer. How can they power all this awesome? Well the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard has a “Built-in rechargeable more staying power lithium-ion battery”.
In all seriousness though, it doesn’t look like a terrible solution for a media center PC controller. The keyboard layout looks a bit awkward with the trackpad shifting the keys to the left. It uses a standard 2.4GHz wireless radio with a 30 meter range. The price is a little steep at $92. That’s maybe too much until you consider that you get “iPhone style craft, classic style” according to Brando. Get it here, if you wish.
Back in October 2008 Apple introduced the buttonless trackpad with their newest generation of MacBooks. Now, at long last, Synaptics is posed to bring them to smaller PC notebooks and netbooks.
At Computex Synaptics is currently demonstrating their implementation of the new trackpad, which they’re calling the ClickPad. Currently supported gestures include two-finger scrolling, two-finger PinchZoom, two-finger pivot rotate, three-finger flick, and three-finger press gestures (and, if you were worried about this type of thing – you can right-click by tapping down on the ClickPad with two fingers, as opposed to one).
This technology will be available to OEMs in Q3 of 2009.
At this point in the game, we can pretty much recite the core configuration of any new netbook that might appear, and it goes something like this. A 10.1-inch display (give or take an inch), Intel's Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, a mutlicard reader, and various other odds and ends. So it comes as no surprises that Sharp's Mebius PC-NJ70A follows that blueprint almost to a tee, if not for the combo trackpad / secondary display.
That's right - the PC-NJ70A's trackpad serves double duty as a secondary display with an LCD built right into the palm rest. Protected by a hard transparent material, the little LCD pushes pixels at a respectable 854 x 480 resolution, automatically adjusts brightness levels based on surrounding light, and supports handwriting recognition via the included software.
So far, street prices in Japan are hovering around ¥80,000 (about $817USD). No word yet on when, or if, Sharp plans to sell the Mebius stateside.