Notebook owners often buy a small USB mouse for it, but the touchpad, or trackpad as it is otherwise known, still gets used fairly extensively, so Synaptics figured it was time for an upgrade.
The company has developed the ForcePad technology, which recognizes up to five fingers, several new gestures and a number of pressure levels, to substitute for mouse clicks. In fact, ForcePad will constantly adapt to the user's hand motions.
Synaptics will launch ForcePad alongside ThinTouch, a technology that will reduce downpress of keys on laptop keyboards, while also equipping the whole keyboard surface with a capacitive touch sensor.
Eventually, laptop keyboards should be thinner, capable of gestures of their own and, as a bonus, better lit (when a backlit exists, due to the keys sitting closer to the substrate).
Practical applications will be ready at some point next year (2013), maybe as early as CES (Consumer Electronics Show), in January.