When Sony's latest e-readers were introduced recently, a lot of people wondered whether the touch-screen interface would be improved after previous attempts met with complaints of screen glare, contrast issues, and only so-so responsiveness. We expected it would be better, but were surprised by how well the touch-screen technology worked. So, what's the secret sauce?
Well, what's interesting is that Sony didn't use its own technology but actually licensed it from another company called Neonode. We're not saying that Sony never does this, but the company does take a certain pride in developing products with its own proprietary technology.
The latest Sony Readers, including the Pocket Edition PRS-350 ($180), Touch Edition PRS-650 ($230), and Daily Edition PRS-950 ($300), use a customized version of Neonode's optical touch-screen technology.
Neonode says its patented touch-screen technology, zForce, "supports high resolution pen writing in combination with market leading finger navigation including gestures, multitouch, sweeps and much more. zForce uses no overlay (like resistive and capacitive touch screens) on top of the e-ink display thus creating a 100 percent clear window free from reflexes and parallax effects and produces a true paper like experience."
The company also adds that its zForce technology is energy efficient and reduces the power consumption for so-called "low-power consumption" mobile electronics devices.
Neonode is a Swedish company that's been around for a while and even made some mobile phones, including the Neonode 2 in 2007. Back in 2008, the company filed for bankruptcy and many thought it had died but it's now become solely focused on licensing out its infrared-based touch-screen technology. … Read more