The Synaptics Fuse conceptwas , when we promised you a hands-on with the handset at CES 2010. True to our word, we tracked it down and tried it out.
Frustratingly for such a cool product, there isn't much to report, because the handset didn't include an operating system. It's a proof of concept showing off interface inputs from assorted companies, but only the physical interface was working at CES: the handset didn't include any phone features, just a game showing bubbles bouncing round a home screen. Synaptics wants to sell the technologies to phone manufacturers to integrate into their own handsets, so it's unlikely we'll ever see the Fuse itself on shelves.
That's a shame, because slap Android on it and we'd snap it up faster than Russell Grant spotting the last biccie in the tin. The side panels contain four sensors that detect grip, so the handset will only unlock when it detects that you're holding it phone-style, and won't accidentally dial your mum while in your pocket.
The rear touch panel is a great idea and feels really intuitive as that's where your finger naturally rests. We can see it being a nifty way to navigate around Web pages or games without blocking your screen real estate, and it's bigger and fits in with the phone's overall look better than the similar touchpanel on the new. We reckon the combination of all those touch panels, accelerometer and ginormous 94mm (3.7-inch) WVGA AMOLED touchscreen would make it a fantastic gaming experience.
Synaptics promises a more fully featured version at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and whaddayaknow, Crave will be there too. See you there, Synaptics.