Honey Is Made From Dead Bees

… and other insights into the world from Daftspaniel

Shape and the Stylus – My iPad Thoughts

with 3 comments

I try and keep this blog relatively geek-free but one tech topic that has come to mind recently is worthy of a wider audience than my ‘coder’ blog. Yes it is those smartphones and tablets. Don’t worry I am not going to drone on about dataplans, signal coverage or apps! This is about shape, price and form factor.

I have used mobile devices and touch screens for many years when I was given an early Palm Pilot at work. These were amazing devices for the day. Remember a decent PC cost you around £1000 and here was something that would fit in your pocket that could run some decent applications for around £150. These devices got me used to using a stylus on a small device.

The iPad looks very nice and a bit expensive. Probably safe to say it will never have a stylus! This is a shame as both can work well together. My Nokia phone is touch most of the time but I can pull out the stylus based on preference (text entry for me). Android seems touch focussed too – I do not know of any stylus based devices for it. It would be nice to grow my iPod touch to an iPad size but only ‘nice’.

My dream tablet device would be as follows – 7 to 10 inches, Stylus + touch input, optional keyboard, Wifi only, thin and running a Google OS (Android or ChromeOS). What sparked this imaginary device was watching some people with smartphones. People I saw seemed more comfortable holding the stylus and given the productivity boost and familiarity, I can’t see it going away. It has mass appeal.

One other little quirk I have with mobile devices is price. Okay maybe we all are price quirky! I don’t like small devices to cost more that the Palm Pilot price of at very maximum £200. There’s something uncomfortable about carrying £400 of device in a pocket, sitting it on a table in a cafe or handing it to a child. So I hope a Google device can deliver on the £100 price point.

Okay two techie blog posts in a row. Something very different next time I promise!

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Written by daftspaniel

June 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

3 Responses

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  1. Hmmm.. using a stylus *sucks* compared to a good touch ui.

    Michael Foord

    June 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    • I guess you haven’t tried writing with your finger, then.

      I like writing on my ancient Palm Vx with a stylus (using Graffiti), and the handwriting recognition in Windows 7 has got good enough that once it’s trained it’s a viable occasional alternative to the keyboard. I recently took part in a face-to-face roleplaying game session in the UK with one player in California, where I was holding chat conversations across the Atlantic in my own handwriting. It wasn’t as efficient as a keyboard, because more corrections were necessary, but it was good enough that it was more convenient to use my laptop in tablet mode rather than fold out the keyboard, and the speed was acceptable for fairly quick message turnaround.

      Gavin Greig

      July 31, 2010 at 8:55 am

      • Interesting Gavin. I realised the other day another reason why I like a stylus… I don’t like blocking the screen with my hands/fingers. Admittedly that may not apply to a bigger device such as an iPad.

        daftspaniel

        July 31, 2010 at 7:42 pm


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