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One of the problems with high-end calcs is trying to fit the labels onto and around the keys: there are just too many functions, too few keys, and too little space. There have been numerous solutions with varying degrees of success and now here's a brand new one: put retractable keys in the screen!


http://www.reghardware.com/2012/06/07/touchscreen_displays_get_retractable_physical_buttons/

Thanks for posting this link!

Wow. If this works well, it's really tremendous.

Missing keys seem to be the biggest obstacle to having a small (5-7") tablet be an ideal HW base for a next-gen high-end calc. With those kinds of buttons, not only would there be keys, but more space could be given to the display, compared to a device that has physical keys.

I assume this technology will not permit software-controlled shape and layout of buttons--that would be a little too good.

There's little information on the website but here is mentioned that "Button layouts, shapes, location and sizes can be customized". To me, this reads as "OEMs may do that." (Not application writers.)

If a smartphone adapted this tech, they'd likely place the buttons appropriate for the most needed app: the phone. Meaning something like a 3x4 or 3x5 layout--too few buttons for a calc app. On a tablet, they'd probably configure the positions to coincide with the virtual keyboard. That could work for a calc.

A completely different question, of course, is how satisfying a click on those keys will be.


Edited: 7 June 2012, 3:26 p.m.