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IPhone -New Multi- Touch Technologies Go Beyond the iPhone Zoom Functionality

December 15, 2008

New Multi- Touch Technologies Go Beyond the iPhone Zoom Functionality

By Nitya Prashant
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Is it time for companies to look beyond the multi touch functionality of the iPhone (News - Alert)? Since its launch in January 2007, a function of the iPhone which lets users zoom in and zoom out with a so-called 'pinch gesture’ has become a much talked about feature.

However, Guillaume Largillier, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Stantum Technologies cautions that users are finding that Smartphones have some limitations. For example, they can organize the calendar or address book but it is still easier to do this on the laptop.
Largillier points out, “Smartphone interfaces are still not suited for the more complex operations, such as taking notes in real-time, editing documents, or gaming. Also, moving from one application to the other on a desktop computer is pretty easy, whereas it can be a total nightmare with a handset."
In his address at The Society for Information Display’s (SID) Mobile Displays Conference in San Diego, Largillier commented that the single-handed pinch gesture is not the complete solution since there are sharp limitations to the gesture-based user screen interface, despite providing the ‘finest gesture recognition algorithm and the most accurate touch technology.’
While the number of gestures available is limited, providing too many gestures will also increase the risk of manipulation mistakes.
If mobile phones are to perform daily tasks as easily as a laptop, Largillier says companies must now focus on the challenge of developing a user interface for mobile computers that satisfy multiple purposes of being worker-friendly as well as user-friendly; productive as well as entertaining; efficient as well as intuitive; playable as well as playful; and handy as well as appealing.
Largillier has pointed out that there are various multi-touch technologies available today that can be adapted for the ideal mobile computer.
Among the solutions provided by Largillier were on-screen shortcuts and two-handed operations, which greatly improve overall efficiency and playfulness. He added that combining finger and pen input also makes for a richer user experience, even on a small display.

Talking about Stantum Technologies’ 10 finger multi- touch technology, Largillier said it leverages the user's capacity to split tasks between the two hands.
He said, "To enable this, touch-panels must allow true unlimited multi-touch, with accurate coordinates of each contact point; be able to detect fingers and styli; and offer uncompromised performance - a resolution as high as 0.2 millimeters and a time response as fast as 10 milliseconds."
Founded in 2002, Stantum Technologies has pioneered multi-touch technologies. It developed the world's first multi-touch screen that could track an unlimited number of fingers at once and in 2005 launched Lemur, the first multi-touch product available on the market.

Nitya Prashant is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nitya's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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