[CEATEC 2011] KDDI, a Japanese carrier known for its innovative spirit, is demonstrating a new generation of tactile feedback at CEATEC. KDDI’s feedback technology works with a capacitive display and provides a “click” feel which is similar to what can be felt on the Blackberry Storm. However, the Storm was using a primitive “switch” that was clicking at anytime, anywhere on the screen. KDDI’s feedback technology only provides feedback where there is a user interface (UI) element on the screen. It is completely programmable and the user can “feel” the feedback when sliding the finger on a virtual key, button, or even a link in the browser. It is even possible to feel the spaces in-between virtual keys!Of course, this won’t replace physical keyboard yet, but this is a big improvement over not having any sensation at all, and it is leaps and bounds better than the haptic feedback that we have in current phones as the “click” feels very real. I can’t wait to see this in a commercial smartphone.
Virtual keyboard tend to be slower to type on because users typically lose the sense of touch, which is very important to feel where the fingers are relative to the keys. Tactile feedback is also an important confirmation that a key has been pressed, and that the user can move onto the next character.