State of the Mobile Nations survey - The point of the stylus

State of the Mobile Nations Survey - The Point of the Stylus
By Gary Mazo on 3 Apr 2012 02:26 pm EDT

Steve Jobs put an end to the Newton project, largely because he hated the concept of using a stylus. The original Palm Pilot was a runaway hit - largely because of the use of the stylus and its handwriting recognition. Now, Palm is dead and Apple is ginormous, so, who was right? Well...maybe they both were.

Just as the iPad is reaching the stratosphere in usage, the stylus is making a comeback.

So, we want to know what you think. Does the stylus inhibit or amplify your touch screen experience? Let us know by taking the short survey below.

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Reader comments

State of the Mobile Nations survey - The point of the stylus


So the guy who said tablets under 10" in size won't be a hit also hated the concept of the stylus?
Funny, 7" tablets are quite popular, and some still want to use a stylus from time to time.

Sadly, most people will follow the "logic" of Steve Jobs. People need to make their own opinions and not just follow what other say just because. I think there is a place for a stylus, but it's somewhat limited.

I would like to use a stylus a lot more, but I've only seen the ones with the big eraser type end on it. That squiggles around too much to be very precise or good for writing. I find that when I try to write letters like an e, the rubber end just stays in place and I don't get anything close to what I want.

Instead, I use mine mostly for navigating and typing on the touch screen. Clicking links on the one I got isn't all the amazing as it doesn't always catch the "touch" on the link.

I think if we can get back to something like the original stylus on my Palm from days long past, I would definately start using it a lot more. I think the stylus adds a lot to the tablet with minimal draw back.


I'm with you on this one. I've tried the "eraser" ones as that seems to be all I can find. A loooong time ago, I really liked the one that came with my XV6700 Windows Phone. It had the tiny pointer that was about the size of a pen/pencil tip. I am just guessing that the capacitive screen is the cause, but I would think that they could make them work. Maybe I need to get to work on that....

You might want to try the adonit jot. Its different.. I've never used it, but it doesn't have the giant eraser tip.

I could write on my old Palm Zire 72s, using graffiti, faster than I can type on a virtual keyboard - by far. I could also draw with precision using the stylus. The same cannot be said with my fat finger on a small screen.

I think that we can have the best of both worlds now, a virtual keyboard with graffiti style handwriting recognition or a qwerty keyboard with the same. As long as the stylus is contained within the device. Without having seen one in person yet, I'm thinking that the Galaxy Note is an example of the first type.

Galaxy Note is of the same concept but thier execution is pretty poor. I'd rather have the eraser than the active capacitance of the Note stylus. I think the Note stylus concept has some room to grow and could be what "we" are looking for.

Until the stylus can work everywhere on the phone (currently doesn't) and is snappy (there is as much as 3 seconds of lag meaning you can watch your entire sentense being written) then we can have a winner on our hands.

Also, I really think that the stylus should come to tablets first and not phones. But that is just my opinion.

Well itis not all about the stylus. But also the software, that is the apps for drawing, handwriting. Wacom tablets are a good example of what can be achieved. I tend to think though that menu navigation, gesture with fingers or thumb typing are better than doing the same with a stylus, but with both handsyou use both at once. But also that the pressure sensitivity shall not be inside the stylus like for the graphic tablet, so that technologies like those of stantum (used by intel i think) or touchco that has been acquired by amazon are very interesting. The last drawback is not loosing the stylus, while still detaching it easily. The trick of the audio jack plug is good, but better of with another hole so that the jack can still be usable...

Navigating thru apps on my PC using Remote Desktop would be a lot less frustrating with a nice pointy stylus for tapping.

I have a stylus for my Android phone. The funny thing is that it came with the protective case I bought for my Playbook but it didn't work on the Playbook's screen. I've tried both the rubber and brush tipped styus and neither worked well with the Playbook.

I just bought a stylus/pen combo from amazon that has Micro-Knit Technology, I find it to work better than the ones with the rubber end.

called: New Trent Limir Stylus on amazon.

Talking about accessories, i see how are shaped modern wireless keyboards. And i think they could really be a very smart cover for a 7" tablet. For example the touchpad keyboard whilst longer than the playbook is as wide as it. So i could imagine inserting a playbook underneath if it wasn't the battery (but then the extra length could be used to add a battery and the bluetooth chip. And then the front face could have a dock as well on the back for the case you don't have space like in a plane or don't have a monitor to hdmi to a display with using the tablet as a graphicpad...

My stylus is a Bold 9900. Works great on my PlayBook.

I get the need for a stylus, "Blackmoe" and I have the same thought. When I remote in, a stylus would be a great help, but since I've learned to remote control my PB from my 9900, I've become pretty good at controlling the Bold little cursor.

I think I could still make use of a stylus. Not sure I want to carry it around though.

RIM has a patent for a hybrid resistive + capacitive touchscreen (US Patent Application 20110050619)

This would let you use a real stylus while still allowing you to fat-finger you're way around their best-in-class touch UI.

The Galaxy Note may be on to something with the WaCom digitizer pen -- it does offer some advantages over the old plastic-tip styli from the PDA days -- though I wonder if the extra expense is really worth it for the average users day-to-day use.

That said, I'd kill for a good stylus on my tablet and my phone. It might be enough to make me consider thinking about give up my trackpad!

Come on, RIM, you've got the patent -- make it happen!

I like a stylus but the rubber tipped one I have for my PlayBook isn't that good. My laptop/tablet is a Panasonic cf-19 with a digitizer screen that I really like as writing by hand is a breeze. You compose mail differently when you write by hand rather than typing and I wish we could do that on a PlayBook.

i have something similar for the PB. unfortunately, i get the feeling that stylus + capacitive touch screens really just suck. they aren't accurate enough.

Anyone who has ever taken a tablet to a meeting knows Jobs was wrong.

Being able to write on a tablet like a notepad would be THE KILLER APP for the playbook. I'd gladly pay $100 for an app+stylus that would actually work.

I hope RIM does this because I have a feeling windows 8 is going to do it and do it well.

PS I know about thr Galaxy note, but at least in the ad they just use it like a market gimicky writing on a photo. I'm talking a real note taker.

It was called the Newton MessagePad, the best implementation of a stylus interface.

Wonderful device!

As a digital Artist and Designer I use a Wacom stylus with my ipad/playbook, for both sketching and note-taking, and it works great.
For regular tablet usage, not needed, but for art/design, it's a huge help.

If RiM could partner with WACOM and get an application from AutoDesk or Adobe onto their tablet, then the creative community would jump on it. While the applications would be pricey and not something everyone would use, they could be the perfect high end draw. A stylus is much more precise than a finger.

ipad is perfect for artists, playbook is too small. I've used both extensively and think the ipad is the best choice here.
The apps for artists on the ipad are incredible, sadly non-existent on playbook, and won't come (ios exclusivity).
I use cintiq in my studio, wacom are top notch.