Onyx – Multi-touch phone pioneer

Pilotfish designed and prototyped the Onyx, the very first buttonless phone, in 2006 for Synaptics Inc., a leading developer of human interface solutions for mobile computing, communications and entertainment devices.

The design was based on Synaptics’ patented ClearPad first generation touch sensor. Through the sensor and Pilotfish’s UX design, users have the option to enable singlefinger gestures, including tap, double tap, pinch, press and flick, as well as multi-finger gestures.

Synaptics’ wanted to raise awareness about its state-of-the-art multi-touch feature, so they hired Edelman, one of the largest PR firms in the word, to roll out a global campaign promoting the Onyx. The campaign was highly successful, raising interest and developing many new opportunities for Pilotfish.

Synaptics had initially developed the ClearPad technology for the first-generation iPhone. However, after Apple purchased FingerWorks, which had made significant developments
in multi-touch input devices, LG adopted the ClearPad technology for their new line of smartphones. Pioneer Industries was also very keen to apply this technology to their new
generation of Boeing in-flight entertainment units.

The Onyx project steered Pilotfish from Product Design to the more holistic User Experience Design that integrates hard and software.


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