A New Generation of Mobile Handsets Coming

Trackpad maker Synaptics and several partners debuted a new handset called Fuse, which showcases design concepts for future touchscreen devices. From the press release:

Fuse extends the now-prevalent touchscreen-based user experience first unveiled in August 2006 with Synaptics' award-winning Onyx mobile concept. With Fuse's bold lineup of innovative interface technologies, Synaptics and partners tackle the difficulty of single-handed usage and the need to look at the screen - two key challenges faced by on-the-go users in current-generation touchscreen phones.

Fuse's innovative sensing technologies surrounding the entire device enable quick, intuitive, single-handed navigation. For example, grip sensing achieved via force and capacitive touch sensors on the sides of the phone allows the user to execute common controls such as pan and scroll. In addition to the novel side sensors, Fuse introduces for the first time, 2D navigation from the back of the phone. This feature offers yet another mode of effective and fun single-handed control without obstructing the display or enhanced usability, Fuse combines multiple sensory input and feedback technologies including active 3-D graphics and next-generation haptic effects.

The unifying concept is that the phone is intended to be used/accessed with one hand (see video below). It's exciting to consider that many form factors and devices may emerge in the next few years that will make the smartphones of today look like the early PCs that were boxy and awkward. 

With its colorful touchsceen and regard for design, the iPhone is the mother/father of one line of this next generation of devices. 

The categories of netbook, tablet and smartphone may blur and get mixed up as all these devices become VoIP phones and portable computers become increasingly powerful. In the not-too-distant future mobile devices become the primary way that people access the Internet. 

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