Back in April 2010, I wrote an article titled, What is wrong with using a stylus?, in which I examined the losses of ditching the use of a stylus on our modern mobile devices.
In that article, I said:
We lost handwriting recognition when we threw away the stylus. We lost some measure of accuracy once the onscreen item is small in size.
But is the idea of using a stylus on a smartphone without any merits whatsoever? Is the stylus really that bad – afterall we are used to using pens in everyday scenarios. Even some iPhone users have had to purchase a stylus eventually for use (God forbid!) with their Cuppertino toys. Perhaps the sylus is not such a black sheep?
The discussion that proceeded from that article was interesting. Some felt that the stylus was antiquated (of course, by ignoring the many scenarios in which stylus use would be beneficial). Apparently, some of us have forgatten that modern computing is not only about typing, pinching, and zooming.
Others saw scenarios in which stylus use was beneficial.
Enter: HTC Flyer tablet
GSMArena reports that HTC’s first attempt at a tablet, the Flyer has a stylus as an accessory. Oh, its a 7-inch capacitive device all right, but the stylus works with it, along with some extra multimedia functionality, allowing users to annotate, draw and highlight on text, websites and images.
How accurate would a graphics job done on a tablet be if the artist used only his fingers? From the news report:
Yep, you read correctly kids. To many, a stylus might seem like an antiquated feature left over from the days when the resistive touchscreen devices reigned supreme, but the Flyer’s stylus offers far greater versatility than any before it. Alongside having greater control over annotations and the ability to jot down a quick note or two, the addition of stylus input could readily become a useful new tool for the digital artist. The iPad, for example, offers a whole host of apps devoted to drawing and painting but the limiting factor is ultimately the user’s fingers. Finger input is unlikely to be as accurate as a stylus and with the Flyer, a whole new generation of mobile artists could emerge out of the woodwork.
I think that HTC has hit a sweet spot here that other manufacturers are certain to copy. And now, graphics designers, artists, architects and a whole number of other professionals and hobbyists can leave their netbooks and notebooks at home and embrace tablets.
If this is the return of the stylus, tablets just got closer to PCs in terms of functionality and versatility.