We might have overreacted when using the word broken to refer to the Nexus One’s multitouch performance, but that post helped us learn the true culprit of the issue. When we took a closer look at HTC’s touch sensors used in their Android phones, we discovered they were using the Synaptics ClearPad 2000.
It turned out there was nothing wrong with the ClearPad sensor. It was working as advertised and was never meant to track the multiple touches that we were expecting. Google is likely to improve the multitouch performance with future software updates, but the Nexus One (and other HTC phones) will always be limited in what they can do with the Synaptics hardware.
HTC must have anticipated Google’s move to a more multitouch friendly Android because new reports suggest the handset maker has upgraded their touch sensors in two upcoming models. Various sources are now reporting that HTC is using the Atmel maXTouch family of touchscreen controllers in the upcoming Droid Incredible and EVO 4G.
The Atmel maXTouch sensors (mxt224) offer superior performance and low power consumption. These new sensors recognize an unlimited number of touches, offer faster response times, and have an excellent signal-to-noise ratio.
Atmel has produced a quick promo video to demonstrate the power of their maXTouch series. A complete series of videos is available on the Atmel site for additional details.
Complete highlights of the single-chip touch solution include:
- Unlimited touches
- Low power consumption
- Fast response – completely redraws screen every 4/1000 of a second (4ms) to eliminate recalibration issues
- Excellent signal-to-noise ratio for superior precision – 3x better than competitive products
- Superior performance for first-touch response – 3x better than competitive products
- Unambiguous, unlimited touch support
- Responsive user interface: > 250 Hz report rate for a single touch
- Extremely low current consumption: < 1.8 mW in “touch-ready” state
- Two touch adjacency of less than 10 mm on a 4.3″ touchscreen
- Small footprint with few external components
- Supports stylus, fingernails, and gloves
- Grip and face suppression functionality: avoids false touches
- Size and angle of touch supported
- Screen sizes up to 10.2″ are supported by a single chip
- Proximity channel support
To see the new touch sensor being used, check out the following video from our friend Phil at Android Central. He performed the same multitouch visual test we ran on the Nexus One and found that he no longer experienced the issues we had found.