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Synaptics is today unveiling its ClearForce technology for smartphones that lets you press down on the touchscreen to enable new kinds of controls.

The technology appears to resemble the 3D Touch technology revealed by Apple for the latest iPhones. With the iPhone 6S, for instance, the screen can sense how much pressure you apply to the screen and respond accordingly.

The ClearForce tech from Synaptics appears to do the same thing, but for a broader set of customers. Synaptics says the tech enables new dimensions in user interfaces such as speed scrolling, zoom, gaming, and text or photo editing. You can apply variable force, as shown below in the video. You could use your thumb to slide up and down on a zoom lens on the smartphone camera, for example, and then press into the glass harder to take a picture.

The technology will be available in new smartphones with force-enabled screens in early 2016. Synaptics notes that it has about 60 granted patents on its technology portfolio, and suggests that Apple may not want to get too upset over the similarity between the two technologies.

“This exciting next step in human interface for smartphones will soon become the norm and highlights Synaptics’ leadership in force,” said Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager of the smart display division at Synaptics, in a statement. “Early adopters of ClearForce include industry leading (device makers) seeking advanced technology that drives an enhanced and more productive user experience.”

 

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