Tiny switch targets smartphones and other mobile devices

June 02, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Alps Electric Europe GmbH has introduced the “SKTC Series” Double-Action TACT Switch™ (IP67-rated) for embedding in smartphones and other mobile devices.

Smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming increasingly portable and sophisticated, requiring the electronic components inside them to be ever more compact while retaining their functionality.

Reducing the size of a switch or other control device, on the other hand, can sometimes have an adverse effect on operating feel and operability. It is a particularly difficult challenge technically to both reduce the size and retain the functionality of mobile device components like camera shutter buttons, which require a two-step press function for focusing and capture.

The SKTC Series boasts the industry’s smallest dimensions for a double-action type of 3.40 × 2.20 × 0.62 mm, achieved using mechanical engineering technology built up by ALPS over the years. In addition, a new metal contact was developed.. By optimizing the shape and material of the contact using proprietary know-how, ALPS managed to both reduce size and realize an excellent operating feel.

To ensure reliable operation, a projection structure was adopted for the metal contact. This increases the size of the area for operating the switch, widening the mounting accuracy tolerance range. At the same time, it removes the need for projections into the switch button, thus facilitating integration into end products.

In addition, the projection structure used is an “inner projection.” This increases projection strength, thereby improving durability.