The phone, which uses a large 260,000 colour QVGA LCD touchscreen display to replace the mechanical keypad (sound familiar?), will actually receive tactile cues when they press graphical onscreen controls. The response can be customised to one of five feedback profiles.
The VibeTonz system allows the buttons displayed on screen to feel more like real mechanical ones, and can also improve usability when controls are obscured by fingers, or are hard to see due to glare. It can also be used to make the phone more personal, for example, for a loved one’s message to arrive feeling like a beating heart, or for a movie trailer to draw you into the exciting motorcycle chase by letting you feel engine acceleration.
It works by exerting precise, high-speed control over the vibration actuator with unprecendented subtlety and dynamics.
“Our VibeTonz System can provide mobile device manufacturers with an inexpensive enhancement to touchscreen operation,” explains Immersion CEO Vic Viegas. “It also provides a platform for a wide range of additional features that can add fun, engagement, and improved usability to mobile devices.”
The phone itself looks destined for the Chinese market, at least initially, but this sounds like a great technology that could well find its way into other mobile devices.