Multi-touch has become an important way for consumers to go beyond the keyboard and interact with their devices. While Apple made the technology popular with its iPhone, now Synaptics is looking to push it to the next level with new screens capable of tracking up to ten simultaneous touch inputs and responding to a wider array of multi-finger gestures.

Their new ClearPad 3000 series uses 48 sensing channels and has advanced power management features that will allow for screen sizes of up to 8-inches diagonally. Its sensors have an accuracy of ±1 mm, are about 0.3 mm thick and have a power consumption of 5 mA in full active mode and 12 µA in deep sleep mode. Synaptics is naturally aiming its touch screen sensors to mobile phones and other similar portable devices, but the technology might also find its way onto larger-size netbooks and tablets – perhaps that much-rumored Apple Media Pad is coming after all? Additionally, Synaptics holds high hopes for its use in future gaming devices.

The first devices using the ClearPad 3000 should hit this fall and their success will largely depend on the underlying software. The older two-finger touch technology found in the T-mobile G1 by HTC will now be called the ClearPad 2000 Series, and a low-cost version called the ClearPad 1000 Series will be available as well. The latter will offer one-finger input and some limited two-finger gestures.