March 31st, 2008
LONDON: The technology that makes cell phones vibrate when people make a mistake while typing may help cut typing errors in touch-screen phones like the iPhone that lack the tactile feedback provided by a keyboard.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the UK claim that they can expel complications in touch-screen phones by using actuators like the ones used in cell phones to give a feeling of a keyboard.

Software called VibeTonz made by Immersion of San Jose, California, can get an actuator to move in different ways such as smoothly or jerkily.

Corporations like — Samsung and LG, which make touch-screen phones, use this to provide rudimentary ‘haptic’ feedback when a button is pressed, but according to Stephen Brewster, the study’s lead author, phones can do much more.

“The actuators are there, but people aren’t using them in the most effective way,” New Scientist quoted Brewster as saying.

In order to create more sophisticated sensations, the research team strung together combinations of different VibeTonz.

A single pulse 30 milliseconds long gives the feeling of a button being clicked, while sliding a finger from one button to another prompts a half-second long buzz, providing a ‘rough’ feeling that tells the user they have strayed to another key.

Sliding the finger across a button causes the buzz to be ramped up and then down, giving the feel of a round button.

The team found that users typing speed and accuracy were significantly closer to results they achieved using a real keyboard, compared with when the haptics were disabled.
January 27th, 2008

Owners of Apple’s coveted iPhone can now make their expensive purchase even more exclusive – with a ?10,000 diamond-studded case.

The 18-carat gold case is adorned with 42 diamonds and costs nearly 40 times as much as the device itself.

A spokesman for Case-mate, the case’s maker, said: “The Diamond Case is truly one of a kind – it is the world’s first diamond iPhone case and the most luxurious on the market.”

The iPhone, which was launched in the UK in November, costs ?269 and can only be used by taking out an 18-month contract with the mobile phone operator O2.

January 27th, 2008
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