Tag Archives | Texas Instruments

Before PCs, There Were Digital Watches

This is my new watch. If you ever owned a Commodore 64 or an Amiga, you recognize that insignia below the display: It belongs to Commodore, the company that sold vast quantities of personal computers in the 1980s before petering out in the early 1990s.

My new watch is also an old watch: It’s a Commodore Time Master, manufactured in 1976 or thereabouts. I bought it from a specialist called LED Watch Stop, which has a supply of new-old-stock Time Masters that never got sold back in the 1970s. (It’s selling them for $229 apiece at the moment, although the price was $129 just a few days ago–I guess I lucked into a sale when I impulsively ordered one.)

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A Concept Phone Worth Keeping an Eye On

Synaptics, which makes a significant percentage of the world’s touchscreens and even more of its laptop touchpads, has announced Fuse, a platform and concept phone that aims to help figure out what next-generation smartphones might look and feel like.

It’s a joint venture with chipmaker Texas Instruments, interface designers TheAlloy and TAT, and haptic-feedback technology provider Immersion.  And it combines multiple interesting touches, both familiar (multi-touch) and new (my favorite: You can swipe your finger around on the back of the phone to control the interface).

PCMag.com’s Sascha Segan did a nice video explainer on the phone’s features, which I’ll borrow right here (here’s his story).

I haven’t laid eyes or hands on the Fuse yet, and every smartphone on the market today–good or bad–proves that pleasing experiences are about 90 percent integration and execution and only ten percent cool technology. But I’m looking forward to seeing it in person, and seeing the ideas it contains turn into features in shipping phones. Synaptics says it’ll demo its concept version at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show; look for phones based on it to show up starting in mid-2010.

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