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CNET First Look
Synaptics Clickpad 3.0Get ready for the next generation of laptop touch technology, as we take a sneak peek at the Clickpad 3.0.
-I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a very first look at something you're gonna be hearing a lot about in 2011 and that is the next generation of laptop touchpads. Actually, when you have a big pad like this with no buttons where the whole pad kind of acts like a button, they call that a Clickpad rather than a touchpad, and Synaptics is one of the companies that makes touchpads and touchpad technology for a whole lot of systems. You may be used to the traditional touchpad which has a small pen and a left mouse button and a right mouse button. Or if you have used a MacBook laptop recently or a similar system from HP or Dell, you've noticed that they switched to the Clickpad format where you just have one big pad. That's all well and good. And on MacBooks, they work great with the multi-finger gestures. On the PC side, that multitouch gesture functionality has not been as good. What Synaptics hopes to do with the 3rd generation of Clickpads is: (1) Improve those multitouch gestures and (2) improve the hardware so that the ClickPpad does pretty much exactly what you'd expect a Clickpad to do as in the entire thing depresses when you click on it. It's not hinged at the top. The whole Clickpad just goes click like that, and if you watch closely, you'll see I can press down here at the bottom and click or I can press up here at the top and click or I can just press right here in the middle and clicking each time the pad depresses. If I click it right in the middle, the entire pad depresses. It seems like a small thing, but if you spend a lot of time when one of Apple's big MacBook touchpads, you'll eventually get annoyed with the fact that it's hinged at the top and only really clicks down at the bottom. Some other things that you're gonna be able to do with 3.0 version Clickpads is add a lot of that multitouch functionality that PCs currently lack whether it's four-finger flick gestures or inertial momentum scrolling, and of course, it gives you a lot more surface area to work with than a traditional touchpad that has left and right mouse buttons built in here eating up some of that space on your keyboard tray. Of course, it's up to individual PC makers to figure out how they're gonna implement Synaptics new Clickpad hardware and it's software whether they wanna use all of none of it or just parts of it. This is a prototype that Synaptics actually took in existing laptop and just built in their new Clickpad so we could try it out. You're gonna be seeing it in different configurations at different sizes coming up in 2011. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the new Synaptics Clickpad 3.0.