Posts Tagged ‘stylus’

New and Exciting Stylus News from Ten One Design

March 5, 2012

Ten One Design has released information about an upcoming stylus for the iPad.  The big benefits are that the stylus will not have to be manually paired with the iPad to work and it will feature “palm rejection”. For those of you not familiar with the term, that means the app you are doing the writing in, will be able to easily differentiate between your hand resting on the screen (as it will naturally do while writing) and the pen or stylus.  This will enable better recognition of handwriting and more precise highlighting or markups of existing text.  Information from Ten One is below:


You may have been hearing good things about Bluetooth 4.0. It’s a fast wireless connection, and is fully supported by the CoreBluetooth framework in iOS5.

Bluetooth 4.0 devices don’t need to pair with your iPhone or iPad, they just connect and work. Also, the battery life is dramatically better – think months or a year on a single coin battery. We’ve developed the first pressure-sensitive stylus for iPad that uses Bluetooth 4.0.

Sample hardware is available today. If you’d like to have support for this device in your app, email, and we’ll schedule a shipment for you.

Note: Images shown are unfinished pre-production samples. We’ll unveil the final design soon!

Pen features
  • Fast, simple bluetooth 4.0 technology does away with pairing.
  • Any application can take advantage of the features, but developers should use our free code to help them integrate.
  • Full pressure sensitivity.
  • Palm rejection capability.
  • Lights, buttons, music (ok, maybe not music).
  • Full details, name, pricing, etc coming soon.
  • Product will ship after FCC approval. If you’re a developer, the time to start testing is now.

Why Tablets Need a Stylus Option

February 20, 2012

After reading a number of posts reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Note such as this one on Droid Life and one from Cnet discussing whether anyone really wants or needs a stylus, I decided to chime in from the standpoint of a student and a future lawyer. First, some background, I live firmly in both the Android and iOS worlds, by having an iPad 2 for a tablet and a Droid X2 for a phone, so this post is going to be platform agnostic. I have been using apps such as Kno (itunes link) and Westlaw Next (itunes link) as well as Apples own iBooks to read cases and PDF files for class and the various clerking/internships I have had.  I think people are under the mistaken impression that the primary function of the stylus is for taking handwritten notes, as opposed to entering text with a keyboard (be it soft or mechanical).  Although, having that option is nice, and is especially useful for capturing signatures, it is not the primary reason I want a stylus to be fully supported by a tablet. The pen has survived because it is a great tool for marking on paper. And that is how I want to use a stylus, marking up existing content be it text or pictures and annotating, as opposed to a means of navigating around the tablet OS or writing long documents by hand.

I need to be able highlight relevant sections of legal cases (ideally with multiple colors to choose from) and add notes in the margins.  For school I often want to make simple annotations, such as a TC or AC next to the holding of the Trial or Appellate Court to distinguish it from the higher court rulings.  I might want to make a section as the Rule of the case, or use a different colors for dicta and the holding.  I find highlighting text using my fingers somewhat difficult in all of these apps.  Yes, it can be done, but if there is a link in or near the text I am highlighting, I often find it “activated” taking me out of the case and to the linked material.  Then, when I go back I am not at the same location in the case, but have to start again from the “top”.  Additionally, because fingers are relatively large blunt instruments compared to the size of the text, it can be difficult to accurately touch the screen to select the exact words I want.  I am becoming more adept in each of the applications at using the tools provided to adjust the highlighted area to be accurate, but it is not a frustration free experience.

Ideally, by using a stylus, the tablet would know I am highlighting or writing and would not activate or select a link. It would distinguish between the navigation being accomplished by fingers and the more precise and specific input from the stylus. It would enable me to readily change colors and annotate the material I am reading with a few words (optionally converted to text, but not that is not a necessity).  I think that would be a more fluid experience than what is currently provided today.  I agree that if I am going to take pages of notes, a keyboard (for me a mechanical one) provides an optimal method to do it. I will leave the comparison of note taking apps for another day, but for now I want to say, “Give me a stylus!”  I am hoping that is Apples “one more thing” for the iPad 3, and it would work well with there interactive iBooks initiative. Further, Apple adding a stylus would make it “cool” as opposed to the throwback to the days of the Palm Pilot that some reviews see it as.

Kindle study

May 3, 2011

The information discussed here shows why I was so interested in the Kno, because the biggest part that seems to be lacking in tablets/eBooks is in the note taking department. I really think the stylus handwriting method of input is what is going to drive the next wave of tablet adoption.

Found on Crunchgear:

Researchers at the University of Washington have found that, while useful, Kindles (specifically that larger Kindles DX) aren’t all that popular with students – yet. Their issues, arguably, are UI problems including the need for a “skimmable” abstract of content and better note-taking systems. 

“Most e-readers were designed for leisure reading – think romance novels on the beach,” said co-author Charlotte Lee, a UW assistant professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering. “We found that reading is just a small part of what students are doing. And when we realize how dynamic and complicated a process this is, it kind of redefines what it means to design an e-reader.”

The study also reported some additional issues with reading on e-readers among them:

Students did most of the reading in fixed locations: 47 percent of reading was at home, 25 percent at school, 17 percent on a bus and 11 percent in a coffee shop or office.
The Kindle DX was more likely to replace students’ paper-based reading than their computer-based reading.
Of the students who continued to use the device, some read near a computer so they could look up references or do other tasks that were easier to do on a computer. Others tucked a sheet of paper into the case so they could write notes.
With paper, three quarters of students marked up texts as they read. This included highlighting key passages, underlining, drawing pictures and writing notes in margins.
A drawback of the Kindle DX was the difficulty of switching between reading techniques, such as skimming an article’s illustrations or references just before reading the complete text. Students frequently made such switches as they read course material.
The digital text also disrupted a technique called cognitive mapping, in which readers used physical cues such as the location on the page and the position in the book to go back and find a section of text or even to help retain and recall the information they had read.

Intel Capital, Condé Nast Owner Invest $30 Million in Kno; Intel Licenses Student Tablet Hardware Design

April 8, 2011

According to the article linked below, Kno is out of the hardware business. I hope this is a positive thing, and allows Know to focus on the software and encourage the “heavy hitters’ in the tablet space to make tablets which support both, “finger based” and stylus input, which should expand the business practically of tablets.


Intel Capital, Condé Nast Owner Invest $30 Million in Kno; Intel Licenses Student Tablet Hardware Design.

According to sources close to the situation, Intel Capital and Advance Publications will lead a $30 million investment round in Kno, the high-profile student tablet start-up.

In addition to the funding from its venture capital arm, Intel itself will license the hardware design of Kno, which will now focus on its software to manage the devices that are aimed at the college market.

Intel will not manufacture tablets, but take its hardware blueprints and share it with their OEM partners.

Kno is now officially out of the hardware business.

Pen-based Apps? HTC’s Scribe Technology Will Open to Third-Party Development

March 27, 2011

From Phandroid

Even if the HTC Flyer comes off as a bit last-generation compared to the current rank of tablet heavyweights, it does offer one feature that few others have: a stylus used not for basic interaction and navigation, but rather for taking notes, doodling, and procuring and annotating screen grabs.

HTC plans to open up their Scribe technology to third party developers, enabling them to see uses they have for the pressure sensitive stylus that comes packaged with the Flyer.

I have been advocating for this type kind of tablet/stylus for use with eBooks, particularly textbooks and for use to mark up exhibits or depositions for use at trial.  I hope it catches on and we see its use expand. The beauty is that you do not need the stylus to use the tablet, it is not required for navigation or apps at all. It only comes into play when you want to take advantage of its ability to act as a pen for highlighting or writing.  It is that choice that may make the Flyer stand out.

I also think it is unfortunately that manufacturers are continuing to focus on gaming and movie watching  as opposed to more business functionality.  I think that is holding back the tablet market.

Kno maybe selling tablet hardware business, focusing on software instead

February 21, 2011

From all things Digital: Kno Student Tablet Start-Up in Talks to Sell Off Tablet Part of Its Business

Kno–the much-funded and high-profile Silicon Valley start-up aimed at making tablet computers focused at students–is considering selling off the entire hardware part of the business and is in talks with two major consumer electronics manufacturers to do so, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources said Kno execs have recently decided that the quicker-than-expected uptake in tablet production by a multitude of powerful device makers had made its efforts to package a seamless offering less critical.

Instead, the company will focus on its robust software and services to offer students on the Apple iPad, as well as upcoming tablets based on Google’s Android mobile operating system and others.


Leaving aside the effect this has had on those who had preordered tablets from Kno (here’s hoping the company finds a way to make it up to them) I think this is great move for Kno and one I had personally recommend to them through their advisory panel. I think working with a major manufacturer to keep the hardware costs low and including a digitizer that enables both finger and stylus input is the wave of the future. I am picturing Kno being an application running on top of Android or iOS  and enabling this functionality.  You could use Kno to then read and annotate a PDF file or case and then print it with markups/highlighting to use at trial.

The company is apparently still in a quiet period and has announced intentions to inform interested parties of their plans on April 14, 2011.   Though it is disappointing that the last update on their Press/News Page is from January 25th, 2011 touting their student ambassador program.


Kno Shipping update

February 17, 2011

Ironically, the same day I post an update talking about the Kno, the company has started calling customers who had preordered and letting them it would be approximately 60 days until the tablets shipped and not all pre-order would be filled. Kno’s facebook page also indicates that the company has laid personnel and is going through some significant changes.  Some of the posts are speculating that Kno maybe reconsidering its future as a hardware company and perhaps moving to a software only model.  As my previous post, mentioned the HTC Flyer supports a stylus and handwriting.  Further rumors are swirling that Google is building handwriting support in future releases of honeycomb (their tablet focused version of the Android OS).  In my mind, handwriting recognition and support is the differentiator that will drive tablets into the education space.

Stay tuned for future updates.

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