Synaptics might be better known for the interface of the touchpads included in laptops, but they have a lot of products included in mobile phones, particularly to make their touchscreens work. Now it seems like they want to contribute to making smartphone interfaces a little less dull with a technology called ClearForce included in some of their ClearPad solutions for touchscreens. It basically recognizes various pressure levels, much like Apple's Force Touch (known as 3D Touch on their latest iPhones) or Huawei's Pressure Sensitive technology used in the Mate S. The company has been working closely with OEMs, so smartphones with this kind of technology could be released in early 2016, while they want to include this technology in tablets, wearables, and even some automotive-related products.
It is said that this technology would work with the fingers as well as a stylus and they have released a demo video to show some capabilities that would be available with this technology. First they show how the continuous scrolling would work, this is especially useful as screens are getting larger. Then, they show an interactive contextual menu that appears when users press a little harder on the surface, it's funny how they used the Mate S for this part. Finally, they show how this technology could enhance one-handed usability while taking pictures, while zooming in and out, users just need to press harder at the desired zooming level to take a picture.
Other possibilities while using this technology include variable speed when scrolling, picture zooming and panning, function preview and selection, continuously variable gaming control functions, unlock and wake up, line thickness while drawing, image editing including brightness, contrast and saturation as well as upper case and symbol selection, which would be independent from the keyboard settings. It remains to be seen how intuitive and functional this pressure sensitive touch technology really is, but the ones who might make it a little more useful or seem more innovative are developers. This technology can be used to weight some objects in the Mate S, which brings a new functionality to a smartphone's screen, so we will probably have to wait until next year to see new uses for these screens.