Synaptics and Pilotfish Collaborate to Develop Next Generation Mobile Phone Concept - What's New?
The Onyx concept phone
22 August 2006
Reported by Angus Leung
Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA), a leading developer of interface solutions for mobile computing, communications and entertainment devices, and Pilotfish, a progressive industrial design and product development studio based in Munich and Taipei, today announced the introduction of Onyx, a next-generation mobile phone concept. This concept device enables OEMs to visualize a fundamentally new form of user interface for mobile phones.
The new concept phone uses Synaptics' ClearPad, an optically clear, capacitive touch screen solution, to create a fully adaptive user interface (UI). The ClearPad input system eliminates the traditional mechanical keys found on phones today and dramatically adapts to present the information and controls a user needs at any given moment.
More intelligent than conventional touch screens, the ClearPad accurately recognizes not only points and taps, but also shapes, complex gestures, and proximity to the user's finger or cheek. This creates new possibilities such as assigning functions to two-finger taps, closing tasks by swiping an "X" over them, sending messages by swiping them off the screen, or answering a phone by holding it up to your cheek. The prototype phone uses a dynamic UI, where applications are layered and opened simultaneously, allowing a seamless flow of information between applications.
"Mobile phones are no longer used just for making calls -- they have become a single access point for critical day-to-day information," explains Clark Foy, vice president of Synaptics. "The Onyx phone is a breakthrough illustration of how advances in interface technology and collaborative design will drive the future of mobile interactions and services."
The Onyx phone is the result of collaboration between Synaptics and Pilotfish, under the philosophy that hardware and software are not two separate fields, but interrelated parts of the overall experience of a product. Utilizing Synaptics' ClearPad touch screen technology & interaction design, Pilotfish created a cutting-edge user interface and industrial design model for OEMs to innovate upon.
"The real meaning of this product is about opening up the channels between hand, eyes, and device, and giving people access to actions and information in a way not possible with conventional buttons," says Brian Conner, leader of the design team for the Onyx at Pilotfish in Munich. "When carrying this out, we integrated the approach to designing product form and user interface, and started by focusing on the actions and experiences around the Onyx – the result is a device where the new interaction possibilities are supported and emphasized by the simple, clear form."
For more information on the Onyx Concept, visit
For more information on Synaptics and Pilotfish, visit
Synaptics is a leading developer of interface solutions for the mobile computing, communications and entertainment industries. The company creates interface solutions for a variety of devices including notebook PCs, PC peripherals, digital music players, and mobile phones. The TouchPad, Synaptics' flagship product, is integrated into more than 50 percent of today's notebook computers. Consumer electronics and computing manufacturers use Synaptics' solutions to enrich the interaction between humans and intelligent devices through improved usability, functionality and industrial design.
Pilotfish is a progressive industrial design and product development studio based in Munich and Taipei. Specialized in electronic products (consumer and professional electronics, medical & home care, sports & leisure), Pilotfish offers the complete range of industrial design services, from user research to concept development, 3D modeling, prototyping, and batch production. Next to award-winning design (iF, IDEA, red dot, GIO, Best of Comdex), the company also provides mechanical engineering, project management and on-site quality control for tooling and production in Asia. Since its foundation in 2000, Pilotfish has grown to a multinational team of over 20 designers, engineers, marketing and manufacturing experts catering to international brands worldwide.