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Microsoft’s new touch screen technology: life saver for texting apps

August 18, 2014 by Omar Sohail

The popularity of VoIP apps in the age of communication has reached new heights with astounding statistical results. With the tally of smartphone users about to reach the 1.75 billion mark by the end of 2014, the usage of VoIP apps and the texting apps that they offer is going to increase exponentially. After all, these texting features in VoIP apps serve several advantages over traditional messaging. For starters, the user only requires to be connected to a working internet connection (wireless network or data plan through the smartphone carrier) and users will be able to send a barrage of free texts, not to mention audio notes and video clips, absolutely free.

Microsoft’s on-screen interface keyboard technology

While smartphone manufacturing companies have decided to negate the use of physical keyboards and replaced them with ‘on screen interfaced’ keyboards, the experience of these keyboards have yet to improve the texting sessions of users. Fortunately for mobile and tablet users, Microsoft has begun working on a new touch screen technology that will breathe life in to texting applications in a way that will make the experience similar to tapping keys on a physical keyboard. According to Hong Tan, senior researcher in Microsoft; all smartphone users are still limited to using on screen keyboards and has stated that the company is currently in the midst of researching on a new touch screen technology that will make the experience in to a life-like one. Instead of placing an actual physical keyboard on smartphones, the software developing company’s research division has found several ways in order to take the typing level of smartphones to a whole new class.

How it works?

The technology the company is working on will be delivering a keyboard sensation to the user. This will be enabled when the device has a layer of material placed under the glass that will be able to bend under electronic voltage. Using this method, the glass will bend slightly with each key press, sensationalizing a keyboard like tap to the user. While this is one way of augmenting the typing experience for the user, another implementation involves the company in using a process called electrovibration, which alternates the voltage applied to the glass surface. Using this process, the friction between your fingertip and the glass will change, resulting in creating a sticky and smooth sensation. In order for this sensation to bring any effect, several sensors are going to have to be placed in the bezel of the smartphone or tablet. Currently, Microsoft is not the only tech company that is currently embroiled in making a near perfect typing experience for the user.

Startup Company Tactus had recently announced its iPad case. The tablet case is able to generate physical keys from an Apple's tablet's flat display. During the Mobile World Congress, Fujitsu was able to showcase a sensory touchscreen that allows the user to feel different textures while typing.

The technology is yet to reach mobile devices and tablets, but once it does, VoIP apps and the texting option currently placed within them are going to get a lot more addictive than before. 

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