Synaptics, a publicly traded Silicon Valley company, has purchased Coeur d’Alene-based Pacinian.
Pacinian CEO Jim Schlosser said the acquisition should mean an expansion of workers at the company’s research office in North Idaho.
Synaptics develops input and touchpad devices for major electronics companies including Apple, Asus, HTC, Lenovo, Gateway, HP, Sony, Ericsson and Toshiba. It’s estimated to have roughly 65 percent of the notebook touchpad market.
Pacinian, launched in 2007, develops keyboards and touch screens. Its major product to date is the ThinTouch keyboard that uses no electronics but creates a 40 percent thinner contact surface than conventional keyboards.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
All of Pacinian’s assets and patents were included in the deal, according to a news release.
In an interview last year, Schlosser described Pacinian’s breakthrough keypad, which requires no electricity: “The advantage is that the user will touch the ThinTouch keyboard and the key will feel like it’s moving more than it actually does.”
The ThinTouch also has no moving parts, avoiding the complaint of many PC manufacturers that traditional keyboards rely on tiny bending pieces below each key, so any small broken piece usually requires replacement of the entire keyboard.
The acquisition provides a boost to Pacinian’s ability to develop products for consumers, not just in the personal computer area. The company’s design team has focused on other applications for its products, including gaming, automotive interfaces and home entertainment systems.
In 2010 Frost & Sullivan presented Pacinian with a Technology Innovation Award. Seattle Business Magazine that year also named it one of the region’s top innovators.
Discussions with Synaptics have been ongoing for more than eight months.
Schlosser said the company’s Coeur d’Alene location will remain. “We will be hiring more staff, and we see Coeur d’Alene as a center of excellence,” he said.