Synaptics Incorporated was started in 1986 by Frederico Faggin. He later asked Carver Mead to join him in establishing the company. It was created to provide touchpad technology to other computer and device manufacturers. The company later expanded its product catalogue to include other user interface products and solutions. Synaptics now provides ASICs, pattern recognition, touch sensing technologies, software and firmware.
The technology created by Synaptics is used for a number of devices by different companies. Synaptics supplies user interface devices for computers made by Packard Bell, Lenovo, Samsung, IBM, Gateway, Dell, HP, Sony, Acer and Asus. The touchpads are integrated into the laptops, with the software solutions added to the machines.
User interface technology from Synaptics was used on some versions of the iPod and mini iPod media players. The company also made touchpads for the Creative Zen devices. Synaptics is developing its own touch screen phone named Onyx. The design and technology featured is reportedly similar to the iPhone from Apple.
The interface devices from Synaptics are shipped with drivers. These are often pre-installed in the computers available to end-consumers. The hardware drivers can be used to modify the configuration of the interface. The changes can include the size for scrolling and taps, setting mouse features for each device used in the system and set different commands and soft functions for each of the areas on the touchpad. Macro commands or shortcuts can also be programmed into the interface. This allows a specific set of actions on the buttons and pad to store specific commands.
The headquarters of Synaptics is located in Santa Clara, California. Other offices are located in Korea, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and the UK. Synaptics has about 250 employees. The founders Mead and Faggin are still involved in the operations of the company. The current CEO is Francis Lee and Russ Knittel is the CFO. It is a publicly traded company and is listed under NASDAQ with the symbol SYNA.
Some trademarked products from Synaptics are the TouchPad, TouchStyk, ScrollWheel and SpeakerPad. All products are classified into six groups.
Computer interfaces are grouped under the PC and PC Peripheral Products section. This is the group responsible for the TouchPad brand. The first TouchPad system was shipped out in 1995. The product set also includes pointing sticks and dual pointing solutions. Other interface touchpad layouts are also available via the RoundPad and LuxPad technology.
The Mobile Products group includes similar devices as those in the PC group. The Synaptics products in this set include LightTouch, Scrolling Solutions, NavPoint, ClearTouch and Synaptics OneTouch.
Other product groups include Portable Entertainment Products, Synaptics OneTouch, Clear Touch, Advanced Gestures and Proximity Sensing.
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