Apr 19 AT 7:05 PM Taylor Wimberly 50 Comments

HTC Incredible and EVO 4G to feature new maXTouch sensors

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.

Via: Atmel Products

Source: Android Central

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Jack

    That’s it…I’m sold :) No seriously though….when I saw the problems with N1 I was worried about the HTC phones. I’m glad to hear they have fixed it :)

    • http://Website brent

      Stop the tease now! First time I saw EVO on its debut last 3 weeks, and my first reaction was like, 8mp cam and 4G connection? superb indeed! HTC Evo comparison

    • http://www.youtube.com/emogamer Christopher Chavez

      SAME HERE!!!! This is what is literally pushing me over the edge and nixing any thought of me getting the Nexus One.

      When I read that HTC would be using these new sensors in upcoming phones I was SO disappointed that it wasn’t featured in the N1.

      Although the Evo doesn’t have an AMOLED screen, better performance and tech will always be the winner in my book.

      So here I come Evo! And here I come Sprint! Better watch out! LOL =D

  • http://Website Hans

    Aw man! I can’t wait to upgrade next year to phones with this touch screen technology! :D

    • http://Website htc evo guy

      Hello Hans i want you to know there is gonna be a evo v2 with some things very small things fixed like the less than a milameater trench between the touch screen and the side it will also
      fix the light crevse on the bottom of the phone will be sealed. its very very small most people dont even see it will also have 60 frames per second instead of 30 it is not clear if they are gonna do a uptate with the evo v1 to make it 60 frames they are said to do a battery update to make the battery life longer with the v1 and a video chat update the reason its 30fps is because of the battery life but there are many things to fix that like geting a solar power charger that you can plug in to the usb port and hive 65-125 extra hours on talk and other things.
      here are some tips to keep your phone in good shape dont charge it untill it is very low that keeps the bettery helthy. i dont know the other details i dont work for htc honestly the evo is better then the iphone the evo has stuff the iphone does not like tv it is its own hot spot has a kickstand (not that big of a deal but its cool.) can replace its battery if it stops chargeing and has over i beleave 23x 24x 25x more space in its hard drive it is also 4g its unbeatable right now. there are many many more things that it can do but there not on the tip of my tounge
      any ways ill be makeing a video explaining what the good and bad between the iphone 4 and the evo at graham1996 on youtube.

  • http://Website pandadumpster

    As if anyone needed another reason to love the EVO :)

    On an unrelated note, where does Android and Me pull the icon pics from? I have no idea what service mine is being hosted under

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      WordPress uses gravatar.com by default to manage user icons.

      • http://www.goldfishview.com David Shellabarger

        Maybe my avatar shows up now?

      • http://www.goldfishview.com David Shellabarger

        ah good! which I would have known that a while ago. I kept trying to find a way to change it in my profile page….

  • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ adomanico01

    Now if only any of these devices were coming to tmobile.

    • http://www.youtube.com/emogamer Christopher Chavez

      Well… One of them kinda did. Just without Android (HD2) and the other is sold from T-Mo but in the UK (Desire)

      Ugh… I have completely lost faith and hope in T-Mo USA which is one of the reasons I am jumping ship to Sprint! =D

  • http://Website Alp

    Does this mean I can use a stylus???

    • http://Website drksilenc

      yes yes it does

  • http://Website jonathan_m

    So I asked this on another post. But I have to ask on this one as well.

    Does anyone now if the Incredible will be coming out on T-MO or just Verizon for now?.
    I was thinking of cancelling my account, but if it comes to T-MO ill just wait it out!. cause Verizon is HELLA expensive!!!

    so anyone now if this is try??…

    • http://Website david

      I’ve read it is exclusive to Verizon.

  • http://Website Se7en2

    Yet another reason I can’t wait for the EVO. Hope this is true, I would love to be able to use a stylus to draw on that huge screen.

  • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

    >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.

    I’d say it is working within the limitations of its specifications, but those specifications were not relayed accurately to developers or the general public. Google promoted the N1 as a superphone et al and questions on multitouch support from the head of PR on down and such were dodged significantly leading up to and after the N1 launch. The advertisement didn’t match up with hardware limitations and that is why I think a lot of us tech minded folks were a little disappointed and of course that doesn’t help folks who buy a device every couple of years. It could be a bummer for some consumers who bought into the N1 hype that won’t be getting a new device for a couple of years knowing that the majority of mid to high end Android devices will support actual multitouch months after an N1 purchase, etc.

    Of course the N2 will be a beast and then some, but will we see a refresh January next year. It’d be nice if Google leads the charge into 3rd generation Android devices at the tail end or beginning of next year with a Nexus Two or significant refresh. Hopefully they keep the same form factor too so all the car docks and other 3rd party accessories continue to work. Quite possibly you can call the N2 a superphone, but N1 has its issues.

    Unfortunately unlike web apps with a beta badge that can be updated automatically for all users (Google’s main engineering domain) when it comes to hardware and consumer adoption (N1 being a 1st for Google) you can’t upgrade what is already in the wild.

    Ultimately it is a case within the Android ecosystem / sphere of things that the OS / software jumped in functionality before the hardware was better specified to take advantage. Now that the hardware standards and peoples expectations are raised or simply better informed manufacturers of mid to high end devices need to incorporate better hardware multitouch support.

    Goodness I can’t imagine how much the Xperia X10 may fail on its release later this year. I haven’t looked into it, but I’m guessing it doesn’t have proper hardware support for multitouch. That is just going to be yet another nail in its coffin when compared to the Incredible / EVO 4G and other devices that will be on the shelves long before the X10 is released.

    Also recall though that the Motorola Droid, the leading 2nd gen device has an appropriate multitouch hardware support.. This could have been foreseen by Google on the N1 specification process, etc.

    Oh yeah… Can I get an easy job like the hardware designer in the 1st Atmel video.. If only I had a cool large touch screen monitor and all Android dev was that free of stress.. ;P

    >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.

    I doubt Google will improve the multitouch experience for devices with deficient hardware at the software layer as to do so requires device specific branches and even a little domain specific knowledge about the end software application. The Android OS should avoid as much as possible device specific branches or changes in functionality that can’t be altered on a per device basis.

    I’ve built and am aiming at getting a demo out before Google I/O regarding a plugin/component oriented software filtering system that is part of middleware (a layer of software that sits between the Android OS and app developers), TyphonRT, that can improve multitouch experience on the N1 and like devices for particular applications such as axis aligned virtual touch controllers or reasonable tracking of two points taking into consideration axis flips. But that is very domain specific filtering (depending on the app itself) you don’t want engaged all the time and at the OS level you definitely don’t won’t it engaged for some devices and not others which would be the mess that would happen if Google tried to incorporate it into the OS itself.

  • http://Website MrChaz

    If you watch carefully you’ll see that it is swapping the points over.
    Pay attention to 1:34 – 1:36 you’ll see that the index finger flips from blue to orange. It’s still got way better performance than the nexus one but it’s not perfect…

    • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

      Good catch… Here is a possible explanation. When the 1st finger (index finger) is released at 1:34 to 1:35 the id1 changes from 0 to 1 as the index finger is released. This is correct and keeps track that touch point (2 w/ ID 1) is appropriately moved to the id0 slot. At 1:35 we see the thumb become the primary touch point with the correct ID then a flutter where it appears that the thumb slightly lost contact, perhaps due to the angle of the thumb as a contact point, and the touch point tracking is reset. This momentary lapse of contact resets the thumb to the blue / first touch point then when the index finger makes contact it is considered the 2nd touch point / red.

      So the only acceptable explanation is that the thumb lost momentary contact to the touch screen due to angle of contact or raising it off slightly from the touch screen.

      If indeed the thumb did not leave contact there is likely an issue at the firmware / driver or partially up the Android stack. At least the Android multitouch high level API quite likely isn’t the cause of any problems.

      So a much better video can be made demoing multitouch on the Incredible. There are many other ways to trick a touch screen, so while it doesn’t exhibit axis aligned locking there conceivably could be other issues.

      Now wouldn’t that suck if there are specific issues with this Atmel hardware… The jury is still out until I have the device in my hands or someone else makes a better video.

      • http://Website MrChaz

        It would certainly make sense if the thumb slipped. I have a feeling that the switching of Id’s is by design if I read a thread on the developer list properly.

        Even if it did switch it’s still a massive improvement over the older sensor from the look of it

        • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

          oh yeah.. The axis aligned issue and axis aligned false positive data when a touch point is pressed / released on the N1 and like devices is no good.

          You are correct in that it’s by design that the “pointerID” changes. The way the top level API is designed and this is visible in the test app is that each touch point slot which just two are represented by “id1″ and “id2″ stores a pointer ID which is why when the 1st finger is pressed “id1″ == 0 then when 2nd finger is pressed “id2″ == 1. When the first finger is released “id1″ == 1 indicating that there is one touch point, but it is tracking the 2nd touch point. When a 2nd finger is pressed again it goes back to id1 == 0 and id2 == 1. It doesn’t matter which slot stores what as the pointerID for the slot is the identifying data and this can change depending on how many touch points are currently registered.

      • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

        3rd line small correction:
        “is appropriately moved to the id0 slot.”

        should read:
        “is appropriately moved to the id1 slot.”

    • http://Website Tyrone Carter

      If u pause it at 1:36 u can see that his index finger came off the screen thus causing the blue/orange switch

      • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

        I’m pretty certain things unfold with how I describe above. If you have a N1 or Droid you can try out Multitouch Vis Test and see that if you have 2 touch points and let go of the 1st one the remaining one does not change to blue. The only acceptable scenario is if the thumb by angle of contact (less likely) or momentary loss of contact (most likely) reset all touch points such that the thumb when repressed became blue and the index finger became touch point 2 / red.

  • http://Website Matt

    What about the Desire?

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  • http://Website Gigi

    Any chance to get an updated touch panel on HTC Desire?

    I’d like to have the Desire with maXTouch :)

  • http://Website Luis

    Question, I know the EVO will play 720p HD, but will it be able to RECORD 720P HD? I read one report where it did but people say no. True? Not true? Concrete Proof of your answers?

    • http://Website treefq

      Yes, it captures 720p.

      • http://Website Luis

        thats what i said, but he replied with

        “no man it doesnt lol 720p HD Video is 1080 x 720 res at 60 frames per second. i PROMISE you the evo 4g doesnt shoot that LOL”

        is that true?

        • http://Website superlinkx

          If you look at the Sprint promo videos/unveiling, they say that it will be 720p video capture. Not sure about framerate, but the hardware should be able to handle it pretty well. 720p playback only works with HDMI out as the device screen is standard def.

  • http://Website DrymR

    and now like always , i’m disapointed by just buying a retared hardware :/ why the desire does not have this one ?

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  • http://Website trunksy

    Screw the maXTouch sensor. I want the computer with the multitouch see-thru screen and holographic replicator on the side that can “print” me my new phone!

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