New keyboard, touch pad from Synaptics will make Ultrabooks even slimmer

Summary:The ForcePad and ThinTouch keyboard are 40-percent thinner than current laptop versions.


When it comes to laptops, thin is always in, especially for Ultrabook manufacturers trying their best to out-slim the MacBook Air. To help them shave off inches and ounces from their laptops, Synaptics is riding to the rescue with a new keyboard and touch pad that are even skinnier than those previously available.

The company claims that both the ForcePad and the ThinTouch keyboard are 40-percent thinner than the conventional models already in use. A successor to previous generations of Synaptics TouchPads, the ForcePad uses no buttons, relying instead on "multi-finger, variable pressure detection." Specifically, it can detect up to five fingers for multi-touch gestures that are a key component of Windows 8. Synaptics says the lack of buttons can help provide more room for Ultrabook battery and cooling capacity.

ThinTouch is touted as the "[w]orld’s thinnest touch type-able keyboard" that also provides manufacturers with additional backlighting and switching capabilities. It also promises customized feel for brands, so Ultrabook OEMs can differentiate their laptops with a unique keyboard experience.

While the new input devices won't get consumers' hearts racing, they should help Ultrabook manufacturers create more compelling models. And that can only benefit buyers as Intel continues to push its platform as the future of notebook computers.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware


Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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