1. bilzkh's Avatar
    It's no secret that the active digitizer-based stylus is an important part of Windows tablet history. In the old days it seemed digital inking and writing was pushed by Microsoft as a selling point for its original tablet-PC. When Windows 8 was introduced with its multi-touch focus, the active digitizer managed to come through with the Surface Pro and a number of devices from Sony, Samsung and Asus.

    While Windows 8 tablets (including Surface) didn't sell the world on fire, it seemed the market sort-of associated the active stylus with Windows-based tablets, especially the Surface Pro. For a number of us using the Surface Pro, the pen was a major pull.

    I take a lot of hand-written notes at work and now at school, and being able to bind *all* of my notes -- hand-written and typed -- into one thing (which is stored on the cloud no less) was a dream come to life. As an economics undergrad I can't tell you how much I lament on not having the Surface Pro to help me draw graphs, write equations and type text block notes. A lot of Surface Pro users have had similar experiences, so the pen is an indispensable part of our routine.

    Anyways, I'm sure a lot of people came across the question (by either asking or answering) regarding the Surface RT's capacity to take on digital inking. The answer's obvious, but it seems OEMs managed to sense some demand in the market for "affordable Windows tablets with active pens."

    Enter Windows 8.1 and Dell with the Venue 8 Pro. Sure, there have been some problems with the Synaptics based unit (as opposed to the Surface Pro's Wacom digitizer), but at least Dell got the idea. A little while later Asus dropped in with an actual Wacom-equipped tablet starting at $329, the VivoTab Note 8. These two tablets seemed to have had an impact of sorts on the market in that both of them had gone through episodes of unavailability shortly after entering the market. Sure, Dell/Asus probably didn't make many, but expectations passed.

    Moving forward, I'd be interested in seeing how pervasive the active stylus may become with Windows 8.x based tablets. I'm sure we will see more Wacom, Synaptics and N-Trig based units at all price points, but I have two points of interest:

    1. Will we see Microsoft finally make the stylus a standard feature of the Surface series? For starters, it's another selling point and it simplifies the messaging. Now all Surface ads can showcase the pen, not to mention the potential of pushing this solution to students, professionals, creative types, etc.

    2. Will we see someone develop a Bluetooth LE based stylus? The iPad has a stylus solution in the form of the Evernote-Adonit Jot Script pen, it allows for palm blocking and pressure sensitivity. It wouldn't be a bad idea for someone to develop a similar solution for use on any Windows 8.x machine, tablet or laptop or even All-in-One. Of course, if Microsoft were to make it, it could leverage OneNote, Fresh Paint and Office.

    3. Did anyone else notice how many stylus-centric apps there are on the Windows platform? OneNote, Fresh Pain, Office, Bamboo Page, Sketchbook Express, etc. It's a pretty high proportion, so it's puzzling that this solution (especially on Surface RT/2) isn't readily available at lower and more affordable price points.

    4. Windows Phone has a bunch of apps too, i.e. Fresh Paint, OneNote and Papyrus. Again, I wonder why there's no Bluetooth based solution (akin to iOS) available by anyone, including Microsoft.
    paulm187, James8561 and xandros9 like this.
    03-13-2014 04:25 AM
  2. paulm187's Avatar
    I agree, the stylus is what will enable productivity apps in the modern UI just as the mouse in the desktop.
    03-13-2014 06:25 PM
  3. Reflexx's Avatar
    I hope it becomes the norm.
    xandros9 likes this.
    03-13-2014 07:37 PM

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