Dell Venue 8 Pro active stylus pen

While we’re waiting for our Dell Venue Pro tablets (it’s taking too long :)) I thought I’d spend some time reading up about the tablets. I’ve watched all the videos, read all the first looks but today I stumbled on some interesting info about the touchscreen and in particular the Active pen stylus. The Venue 8 Pro uses a Synaptics touchscreen. Here’s the detail.

Synaptics Delivers First Windows 8.1 Certified Capacitive Touchscreen Controller with Integrated Active Pen Support

New Active Pen Hardware Design with Buttons, Hover and Pressure Sensing Also Introduced

SAN JOSE, Calif. – October 16, 2013 – Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA), a leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced that it is first-to-market with a Windows 8.1-certified touchscreen controller with integrated active pen support for smartphone, tablet and notebook PC touchscreens. Synaptics has integrated active pen functionality into its latest ClearPad® touchscreen controllers, which helps eliminate multiple discrete system components to deliver always-on stylus capability at no additional cost to OEMs.

Synaptics ClearPad 7500 family of touchscreen controllers are pre-integrated with active pen support and work with existing touchscreen sensors, providing the industry’s first all-in-one solution for OEMs looking to differentiate their next-gen devices with a high quality active pen experience. The ClearPad 7500 family helps reduce thickness and overall design costs by eliminating the need for an additional pen digitizer and pen controller application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), while delivering performance capable of exceeding stringent Windows 8.1 requirements.

Synaptics has also announced an active pen hardware design for OEMs looking to differentiate their high-end products with a bundled active pen solution or to generate new revenue streams with an aftermarket active pen upsell. The Synaptics active pen boosts performance significantly and brings the stylus experience closer to physical pen and paper than ever before. Users will see improved accuracy, seamless conversion between pen and finger inputs, and new levels of writing resolution in addition to new features such as pressure sensing, hover detection and active buttons for additional functionality.

“The integration of stylus digitizing directly into our latest touchscreen controllers is a significant design innovation and an achievement that we’re proud to be first-to-market with,” said Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager of the Smart Display Division, Synaptics. “Previously, adding active stylus support could warrant a significant budget increase for the OEM, but with our latest solution, this differentiating feature can finally be brought to the masses with no additional design costs and a level of performance that is far superior to what we’ve seen to date.”

Key features of Synaptics’ stylus support:

  • Buttons –The new solutions enable additional Windows 8.1 integrated features such as eraser and selection functions.
  • Enhanced Palm Rejection – Fingers or parts of the hand that lean on the screen will not be misinterpreted when the pen is in use.
  • Extreme Accuracy – Along with a fine 1mm tip, sophisticated algorithms enable the inking of straight lines without jagged edges and curved lines that accurately follow the pen motion.
  • Hover Sensing – Adding a third dimension to the touch experience, the active pen can be detected as it is approaching the screen. This allows opening of menus to allow more choices before a selection is made. In addition, a landing point is projected as the pen approaches to enable accurate selection.
  • Pressure Sensing – The tip of the active pen contains a pressure sensor, which can detect 256 levels of pen pressure. For example, the line thickness can vary based on the pressure on the pen tip.

Integrated stylus support is available now in Synaptics ClearPad 7500 family of touchscreen controllers and will be released across our industry-leading portfolio of smartphones, tablets and notebook PC solutions.