Galaxy S5 may feature passive stylus support and better air gestures

January 15, 2014
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Samsung Galaxy note stylus s pen aa 1 1600

The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 may feature improved gesture recognition and support for passive stylus input thanks to an advanced touch controller supplied by Synaptics.

Stifel, a major financial services firm, raised its target share price for Synaptics yesterday, and told investors that the company secured a deal with Samsung to put its new touch controller in the Galaxy S5. This isn’t a surprise, given that Synaptics, one of the largest suppliers of human interface solutions, has supplied touch controllers for both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3 last year.

According to ETNews, a Korean IT news portal, the new controller from Synaptics will improve the recognition of hover gestures and bring support for passive stylus input to Samsung’s high-end devices in 2014.

On the Galaxy S4, Samsung introduced Air View, which lets you hover your finger over the screen to interact with interface elements, much in the way you would hover the mouse cursor over an item to see its description on your PC.

The new controller from Synaptics will make Air View more accurate and reliable, and increase the range of detection, according to ETNews, citing industry sources.

The new controller will let Samsung equip the Galaxy S5 with support for passive styluses. Passive styluses don’t communicate with the device, the way an active stylus like the S Pen of the Note series does, acting instead like an extension of your finger. Synaptics’ touchscreen panel can recognize styluses with tips of down to 2.5pi, allowing for finer input and better handwriting recognition.

Looking at Synaptics’ products, one controller that fits the description is the ClearPad 3350, first introduced on the Nexus 5.

We can’t say for sure that the S5 will feature passive stylus support, but that seems a strong possibility at this point, considering Samsung’s past efforts to differentiate its flagships through new forms of input. The latest official info pegs the release of the S5 by April, and it’s likely that more and more details will leak by then.

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