IS THE stylus bouncing its way back to popularity? With multi-touch gestures becoming the primary method of interacting with our mobile devices, surely the stylus should be dead by now.
"Who wants a stylus?" Steve Jobs once said during his presentation on the world's first iPhone in 2007. Steve has long rediculed the idea of using the apparatus to interact with the screen.
"You have to get them and put them away, you lose them, yuck! Nobody wants a stylus," Steve went on. At that time, people bought that notion (and hence began Steve Jobs' reality distortion field).
But it looks like Samsung is not giving up to the norm, and is bringing the stylus back to our hands by making it an efficient and less clunky solution to prove that it can be a useful accessory.
For most people, bringing the stylus back was a silly idea, particularly when multi-touch gestures allows the user to do a lot more on touchscreen devices such as tapping, swiping, pinching and zooming, etc.
But clearly, there is one set of tasks where the fingers still fail to accomplish and where the stylus shines like writing, scribbling and drawing.
Samsung addressed this issue by reintroducing the stylus with the launch of the Galaxy Note, a second attempt to the smartphone/tablet hybrid. The Note became a surprise hit, though it's uncertain whether the stylus was the primary selling point for the device, or the fact that the 'phablet' idea works this time around.
The stylus, branded as the S pen, was a welcome addition to the Note because the 5.3-inch screen is just an adequate size to scribble on digitally.
It's practical to jot down short, quick notes such as telephone numbers, but not entirely for writing a short essay. But it's still a dispensable tool nonetheless.
But even with the latest ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) update, the S pen is still considered by most a novelty feature because it wasn't enough to get people to always use it.
I hardly notice Note users pulling out their stylus and use the S note feature. It wasn't exactly like in the Palm PDA era of the 90s when the stylus was a key accessory. People are now getting used to typing on their smartphones than writing on their notepads.
Clearly, the Note was Samsung's testing ground for the stylus-for-the-new-generation. Within the next few days, the Korean manufacturer is going to unleash a couple of devices with S pen capabilities, in hopes that consumers will fully embrace this feature.
It is expected that we would see a sequel to the Galaxy Note, as well as a stylus-enabled 10-inch tablet.
Not much has been revealed on the highly-anticipated Galaxy Note 2, but Samsung has however taken the wraps off its latest Android tablet yesterday, showing off its compliment of S pen-based drawing and multitasking features in an official introductory video on Samsung's Mobile Youtube channel.
It's in this five-minute demonstration video where Samsung shows off how it has expanded the capabilities of the stylus on its device.
We see five major software areas - multitasking, note taking, education, information and photo editing, where Samsung has put a lot of emphasis on with the use of the S pen, and what Samsung hoped to achieve; that consumers will use the stylus for their everyday tasks alongside the fingers they are born with.
With multitasking, the Note 10.1 expands on Android's traditional task-switching and the Samsung Galaxy S3's picture-in-picture video viewing with the ability to run multiple apps side-by-side on the same screen.
As for note-taking, we get a tour of apps like S Note and S Memo, which have evolved somewhat since they first appeared on the original Galaxy Note. And the tablet's educational credentials are boosted by its ability to translate formulae from written text into characters.
This isn't the first time I've seen an Android tablet with stylus capabilities. Rival HTC introduced its own Scribe technology for its 7-inch tablet HTC Flyer, but it failed to impress.
Samsung's S pen looks to be a true saviour for the Stylus. If it can truly deliver what it has demonstrated in the introductory video, and make stylus handy again, we will see this apparatus live on.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect those of The Brunei Times.
The Brunei Times
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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