Touchy-feely solutions enable companies to bring touchscreens to life with responsive vibrations, sounds, and more.
Haptics specialist Immersion believes 'mobile content can be highly personal, but user experiences can feel lifeless, isolated and detached, with interactions reduced to unresponsive gestures on touchscreens'. This, of course, should be a worry for mobile OEMs in a world where buttons are increasingly unfashionable.
The touch feedback tech firm has now announced new solutions ahead of next week's MWC, where it will showcase the Tactile Presence and Integrated Themes tools.
Tactile Presence is an API that will allow developers and OEMs to embed haptics into their apps and connect two devices through one portal. For example; offering two people using a mobile VoIP service the means to play games, doodle, send love notes in real-time and feel each touch they make on the screen as it happens.
Chris Ullrich, VP of user experience, Immersion, said: "Everyone is familiar with the idea of telepresence, the notion that while we’re talking on a phone, we create a shared audio space with others. With Tactile Presence, we have extended the idea of a shared space to include the sense of touch.
"The sense of touch is fundamental, emotive and creates a strong sense of connection. With Tactile Presence, OEMs can harness this powerful sense to create more satisfying mobile telepresence experiences."
Tactile Presence will work across wi-fi and mobile connections, and will be made available in 2H 2013.
With most touchscreen phones looking like the next, OEMs are tasked with standing out from the competition. That's why Immersion has developed Integrated Themes, which will allow companies to design themes that can be touch, felt, and heard, going beyond simply looking pretty.
The 'fiddle factor' is behind the concept. For example; users can stroll through the forest and rustle the leaves when fingers swipe across the screen, or splash puddles like a mischievous child when the device is looked.
Dennis Sheehan, senior VP of sales and marketing, Immersion, said: "The Integrated Theme Module enables OEMs to rethink the user experience with tactile effects as one of the tools in their design arsenal. With Integrated Themes, touch effects enhance the whole device design language, not just button confirmation, creating a more immersive overall experience.
"Incorporating tactile effects into the design stage of a mobile experience is critical. We understand from user research that well-designed tactile effects positively influence the perception of device quality, up leveling the device experience and the OEM brand."
The Integrated Theme Module will be available to OEMs in Q2 2013.
Check out photos of the new tools in action below.