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Blackberry works on combination capacitive/resistive touchscreen

Saturday, August 8, 2009
There are two major styles of touch displays, capacitive and resistive.

The screen on the iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm is capacitive. These screens work with your finger, but cannot work with a stylus or with a gloved hand. The ability of the human body to conduct electricity allows for the changes in current needed to make the objects on the display move. Capacitive displays allow for the use of multi-touch and other gestures, and they are faster than resistive ones, but are much more expensive and less precise. Those with long nails will find these screens almost impossible to use.

Resistive screens, like the one on the LG Dare or the HTC Touch Diamond, allow for the use of a stylus for precision data entry. These screens work by pressing two layers of the screen together to cause a change in current and can work with any object that can press down on a display such as a finger or a pen cap. With the big difference in cost, most of the middle to low end touch screen devices are fitted with this type of screen.

Blackberry has just filed a patent application for a display that combines the best of both worlds. These screens will have the smooth, fast touch like a capacitive model with support for multi-touch and gestures, and the resistive model's ability to make precision data entry with the use of a stylus as well as allowing for those with long nails and covered hands to move objects on the screen. The one thing that the combination screen doesn't fix is cost. The hybrid display will remain expensive which limits its use to high end touchscreen models.

It is not known how far along Blackberry is in terms of actually employing this hybrid technology. It could be something that will debut on the BlackBerry Storm 2 or it might just have to wait for another high end Blackberry model.

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