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Archive for February, 2009

Six Reasons To Choose Silicone Keypads Over Touchscreens

February 10th, 2009

Let’s agree on one thing: touchscreens are cool. They feel futuristic and they are fun to use. We’ve enjoyed playing around with them but once the cool factor wore off, we became aware of a number of advantages that silicone custom keypads had.

1) No Fingerprints: Manufacturers have tried touchscreens since the 1960s and they still have yet to overcome one of the most frustrating problems – fingerprints on the screen. Even clean hands leave small traces of oil every time you touch the screen and soon you can’t see what you are doing. Our custom keypads aren’t going to be stopped by fingerprints, even if you don’t wash your hands.

2) Clicky-Clicky: People expect some kind of feedback when they push a button and touchscreens just don’t have that. Users often find themselves jabbing the screen quite hard to get some kind of click sensation. Our custom keypads create a satisfying click that balances tactile feedback with quiet use. We can adjust the snap ratio to provide the right “click” for your application.

3) Operate By Touch: Over the years as our clients produce smaller devices they want smaller custom keypads. However last time we checked, our fingers are just as big as they were before. To use today’s smaller keypads we often depend on feeling the key since we can’t see them past our fingers. You can’t feel a touchscreen’s buttons so you have to watch the screen constantly – no touch typing here.

4) Silicone Lasts: Over time, touchscreens get scratched by the endless attacks of jabbing fingers and styluses. The scratches may be simple cosmetic defects but if they get severe enough, they will compromise the screen’s function. Molded keypads are designed to take not just the abuse of heavy operation but also stand up to many sources of corrosion.

5) Keypads Are Cost Effective: Touchscreen interfaces cost many, many times what custom keypads do. That increases your cost of manufacture which leaves you no choice but to raise the price of the final product. While high-priced luxury products may sell well to a certain segment of consumers, you are also limiting your potential audience. It’s even possible to end up with a cost of manufacture so high that your retail price makes the product unattractive to any buyer.

6) Keypads are Easy to Repair: So touchscreens are expensive and more prone to breakdown than keypads. What do you think that means at repair time? Your touchscreen devices become expensive to repair and require specialized technicians to do the work. How happy are your customers going to be about that?

Touchscreens are ideal interfaces for some electronics, but realistically only a limited number of them. Custom silicone keypads provide an inexpensive and sturdy interface solution that will last years after touchscreens wear out.

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