First PNDs with Immersion's Tactile Feedback to Launch

Immersion announces that a new licensee, CTT-Net of Korea, is launching the world's first personal navigation devices (PNDs) that use Immersion's TouchSense technology to provide tactile feedback for touchscreen interactions. CTT-Net's TouchSense-enabled products for the Korean market include the CSN-7040, a handheld PND, and the CIN-7000, a built-in car navigation device. Both models feature a 7-inch touchscreen as the primary input/output mechanism and include a direct multimedia broadcast receiver for accepting satellite downloads. When users touch the onscreen controls, the TouchSense system provides unmistakable tactile confirmation of the selection, which can improve usability. Tactile feedback may also minimize driver distraction by reducing glance-time.

Use of touchscreens as the primary interface mechanism in portable consumer electronics devices like PNDs, mobile phones, media players, and game consoles is on the rise. Japan's Nomura Securities has predicted the touchscreen market would increase from about $900 million in 2006 to $1.5 billion by 2008. U.S. research consultancy Venture Development estimates the touchscreen market grows 10% annually.

Touchscreens offer significant advantages over dedicated mechanical controls, including immediate and nearly limitless display changes as well as space and cost savings. However, these advantages have traditionally come at the cost of losing confirming tactile feedback, which helps users intuitively understand operational status. TouchSense technology restores this confirming tactile feedback to control surfaces. In addition, independent research has shown that adding tactile feedback to touchscreens can decrease error rates, increase input speed, and raise user satisfaction.

Other licensees of Immersion's tactile touchscreen technology include LG Electronics, Nokia, and Samsung (for mobile phones), 3M Touch Systems (for gaming systems), and Methode, SMK, and Volkswagen (for automotive applications).

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