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

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.

Take the Survey! (opens in new tab)

  • If it would be a real stylus, like if Wacom would create a W8 tablet, it would be totally awesome, but I don't really care for fake stylus that forces you to keep your hand in the air not to touch a button the screen with your fingers by mistake.
  • Phones should have both capacitive sensors and good styli, not the crappy kind that emulate a finger and result in a low resolution (huge point) on the screen. I love my Tablet PC. Capacitive touch plus a Wacom stylus. I had hoped Microsoft would carry over this dual touch technology to Windows Phone but alas, they only used capacitive touch and completely dropped the stylus.
  • I agree completely.
  • Comment and advice on the questionnaire.
    This question adressed is a very important issue in tablets in the past present and future.
    The single last question is a seriously flawed question pushing or even suggesting to  the survey taker to lean to an answer that is basically the same. If the survey is to have some credible vlaue, the question on the reason to use a stylus should also contain both positive and negative options. Currently the survey doesn't.
    Hope this helps for your future surveys.
  • I guess u wernt using a stylus r els u wouldn't of miss spelled value lol
  • Stylus for drawing yea but if ur not drawing its a lazy way out of touching ur screen that's only inch's from u y els use one ? Pointless
  • So far, the only reason I'd want a stylus is for Draw Something. I'm self-conscious of my fat fingers now...
  • I want both. I would love to be able to take notes on the screen by writing and being able to do quick sketches. Thumb typing or keyboard typing typing in meetings isn't always acceptable. However, capacitive is awesome for basic navigation on screen. No compromises, I want both.
  • A good stylus will always have an advantage over fingers in terms of control and precision. Note that most of the styluses available for capacitive screens don't qualify as "good"  I'll take an old resistive screen + plastic stylus over the fat ones available for most current smartphones & tablets when it comes to drawing or handwriting.
    For everyday navigation, scrolling, etc. though, fingers are better simply because one does not have to pull out a separate device, and so clearly has the edge there. The trade-off is having to scroll _more_ because UI elements must be bigger, but gesture-based scrolling is easy enough that fingers still win.
  • Yes, the resistive touch screen on the Tilt 2 was awesome.  You could use fingers and a thin stylus.  Stylus while sitting or standing, but fingers while driving or other one-handed use.  If they could have merged the WP7 software with the Tilt 2 hardware I'd have been totally stoked.
  • As an architect I really wish there was a good smartphone/tablet with a decent stylus (not the crappy galaxy note).
  • As a civil engineer I agree
  • As a Network Engineer I agree with what you agree with.  :)
  • As a computer scientist I don't feel qualified to provide my perspective :D
  • As a welder, the stylus is lame. Period.
  • As a perfectionist, "Period" is a lame sentence.
  • I would love to have Palm's Graffitti come back for a note writing application. I used to take detailed notes in meetings on my Palm V. I once had a person in one of those meetings ask what I was doing and when I told him he said isn't that difficult? I gave him the Palm to read the notes and he was shocked at the depth and accuracy of the notes... I miss it. I will say that on the Windows Phone keyboard I'm almost as good but the predicitive text is what gets me close.
  • Its depends, a stylus would only be good for things such as drawing and writing. However, I wouldn't mind using for other things.
  • The stylus is an essential tool that we don't use everyday, but really do need. I have an HP tm2t, and I use it at university. I always get the question if people can try using their stylus on their iPhones because they hate the fat styluses, and it doesn't help with that new-fangled drawing game everyone is playing these days. Then they also see my take notes right onto a Power Point. Initially I saw people take iPads to class, but it has dwindled, and they're back to pen and paper because of the lack of productivity using the iPad. Some even went as far as to getting a bluetooth keyboard case, but always returns to just using pen and paper, or just keeps it to the side for breaks (they're literally carrying a laptop, which most people had before getting their iPads with that case).
    I think if Microsoft brings back their awesome pen support from Windows 7 to Windows 8 (which they didn't but rather made it pretty bad in Windows 8 right now), and made it a mandatory input tool to come with Windows 8 devices, then we'd see more success. I doubt this will happen if Wacom still keeps the technology exclusive and expensive. Right now the only system requirements, are a hardware start button, touch screen with 10 points, and the resolution, no mention of the stylus. So we won't get our answers from Microsoft.
  • Microsoft will never see pen input unless they tell people about it.  There are so many killer features in Windows that most people just don't know about.  When I show them pen-based input, handwriting recognition, and voice dictation they're *always* shocked and no idea a computer could do these things.  And it's been around for 7 freaking years now!!!!
  • Same here! I've being using a convertible laptop for five years and my clients are still blown away with what they assume is cutting edge technology. I was even using my Compaq iPAQ before this phone (Venue Pro), and people thought the text recognition was futuristic. If Windows 8 tablets feature a stylus AND Flash, they'll definitely stand out and increase their odds of relevance.
  • I like the old stylus, its natural, and don't obscure the view. It's simple as that. There is a situation for a "pen" and there is one for the finger.
  • Fnnaaarr!
  • I like the Wacom stylus with the Samsung Series 7 slate, but the calibration is never perfect, and it gets downright wonky around the edges of the screen. Hopefully this is a problem with the Win 8 drivers and not the hardware. But in the vast majority of the screen it works great; I can write small and at full speed.
  • I've tried allsorts of keyboard techs, but nothing has ever been as fast to type on as a stylus on a full keyboard, on a Windows Mobile device. I was sad to see Microsoft ditch it. The inaccuracy of capacitive screens means that there's a minimum screen size (and therefore device size), on which it's possible to type. Resistive allowed for such great form factors as the HTC Diamond2 - which was very pocketable. In theory I suppose, a capactive screen, typed on by two thumbs in widescreen ought to be quicker than a single stylus, but the fact that your thumbs obscure the keys means mistakes are always made and have to be corrected, slowing the experience down. Also, getting to punctuation is easier with a stylus.