I used to be a lover of phones with a stylus pen. My first was the Ericsson R380. I also owned a Motorola A008. Fast forward to 2021 and I am no longer a champion of the stylus. As far as I am concerned, the stylus is dead.
This afternoon, my friend and fellow blogger, Habeeb, buzzed me to ask if I knew why Infinix had stopped shipping their Note series with a stylus.
To be honest, I hadn’t thought of it until he asked the question. But thinking of it, my conclusion was that a lot of people did not want it. If a lot of people did not want the stylus pen, what was the point of incurring and slapping on the extra costs?
There is a very narrow use-case scenario for a stylus with a modern smartphone – artistic creatives. Not a lot of people are artists. And so, they do not need a stylus.
Habeeb further went on to asked me if I would buy a phone that has the option of a stylus, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
My answer was a definite no, and I will tell you why. You see, a long time ago, I came to the conclusion that I no longer need a stylus.
A stylus offered improved text entry back in the days when phones mainly had alphanumeric keyboards. And so, when devices like the Ericsson 380 and Motorola Accompli showed up, those of us who needed to do a lot of text entry on our mobile devices gavitated to them.
The stylus pen and the old school resistive touchscreens met that need for easier text entry back then. The resistive touchscreens in use then did not support the use of fingers. Following after the R380 and A008, touchscreens with stylus became more popular and we saw models like Sony Ericsson P800, P900 and others take centre stage in the smartphone world.
Once QWERTY keyboards showed up, the value proposition for a stylus on mobile phones dropped. And with the arrival of capacitive touchscreen phones that supported the use of fingers, that value proposition nosedived even further.
Samsung is the last standing champion of the stylus pen on smartphones. People may look at the sales of the Galaxy Note series and say that is proof that there is still huge demand for the stylus. And they would be wrong.
It is so far from the truth. The Galaxy Note series is proof that there is a huge demand for powerful.smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones are some of the most powerful – and they just happen to come with a stylus.
Samsung could do away with the stylus pen and their Galaxy Note (now discontinued and replaced by the Galaxy S21 Ultra) would still sell like hot cake.
The stylus pen as a smartphone accessory is dead. It has largely outlived its usefulness in today’s world. It will remain in use by a few artistic people, but beyond that, it is dead to the rest of the mobile world.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.