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Sony Unleashes Deluge of Handheld Touchscreen Patents

| 30 Nov 2010 14:45
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Rumors on the upcoming PSP2's capabilities could be backed up by recently unveiled Sony patent filings.

Eight patents filed by Sony in October 2009 and unveiled this week could provide some hints towards what we'll see in Sony's unannounced but confirmed to exist PSP2. Five of the patents refer to new methods of touch control in handheld devices, while the others are related to user interface.

The patents for concepts such as a "handheld device with two-finger touch triggered selection and transformation of active elements" appear to corroborate rumors that said Sony is going to implement a touchpad on the rear of the PSP2. Supposed early images of the PSP2 show what is believed to be this touchpad, further backed up by these patents and their images that revolve around a touchpad that's separate from a device's screen.

According to some of the patent text, the idea behind the new touchpad method is to prevent people's fingers from getting in the way of the screens they're using. It reads: "The visual displays used in hand-held devices are relatively small compared to computer screens or television screens ... Unfortunately, because the screen is small, the user's fingers often obscure the part that is to be selected making selection difficult."

Using the methods described in the patents, a separate touch screen would allow for better control over a handheld device by accurately providing the ability to zoom or transform on-screen elements while seeing precisely where your finger is, just like a mouse icon on a computer. The other Sony patents refer to dynamic reconfiguration and composition of a user interface, so we may also see something new in the PSP2 with regards to how its software operates.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Sony will apply some of these patents towards the rumored PlayStation Phone instead. Either way, Sony definitely has something intriguing in the works that involves touching stuff.

Source: USPTO, via Engadget

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