Posts Tagged ‘Tablet’

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.

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.

Barmax has free MRPE prep and now has an iPad app

January 2, 2011

Here is a link to the TechCrunch article about Barmax updating their Bar preparation application and releasing it for the iPad. But perhaps of more immediate interest to law students is their free MPRE app.

From the Barmax website, the MPRE app:


The days of being forced to sign-up for an overpriced bar review course just so you can study for the MPRE are officially over. With BarMax MPRE, you get everything you need to pass the MPRE for free. No strings attached.

BarMax MPRE includes:

– Outline & audio lecture
– Email support (live contact with Harvard-educated lawyers)
– Skeleton outline for note taking (email for skeleton outline)
– 174 REAL practice MPRE questions from previous exams
– Over 100 flashcards categorized by subject
– Lifetime access to the app and course materials
– Review includes:

  • Regulation of the Legal Profession
  • The Client-Lawyer Relationship
  • Conflicts of Interests & the Duty of Loyalty
  • Client Confidentiality
  • Duty of Competence
  • Litigation & Other Forms of Advocacy
  • Communications with Persons Other than Clients
  • Different Roles of the Lawyer
  • Safekeeping Funds & Other Property
  • Communications About Legal Services
  • Lawyers’ Duties to the Public & the Legal System
  • Judicial Conduct


Certainly, a great way to get a feel for Barmax’s style before committing to a $1,000 application to study for the Bar Exam.  (remember at this time Barmax only supports the CA and NY bars, but the MPRE is standard across jurisdictions that require it.)

As a side note, I categorized this under eBooks as well, because I think interactive apps for education are part of the eTextbook revolution, and offer a better learning experience than static text on a page.

Will touchscreen Windows 7 netbooks be hot or not?

June 24, 2009

I think the question posed here is a good one, but I wish the author was advocating for manufactures to produce touch screen convertible tablets.  It’s definitely a chicken vs. the egg type of question, very similar to the 64 bit OS issues.  Software companies won’t build applications until there is a market for them, but people don’t buy the hardware/OS until there are applications for it.  I have been debating the move to 64 bit with Windows 7, but there are still too many application issues for me to be comfortable using it as my primary machine.  Even Microsoft’s own software (such as OneNote) has issues with printer drivers that has only recently been addressed. The issues with Intuit’s Quickbook’s and 64 bit Vista are also well known.

As I have previously stated, the killer app for touch screens may very well be eBooks.  When you consider the price of the Kindle vs. a netbook or a full blown notebook, it doesn’t make sense to buy one if you can the a superset of the functionality, for a few hundred dollars more.  I think touch tablets are being held back by the smaller screen size.  A 15” convertible tablet would still be portable, yet offer enough screen real estate to really take advantage of the functionality in an all day machine.  I am currently using a 17” notebook whose size and weight affect its portability. It is a wonderful desktop replacement machine and can take advantage of a 2nd monitor when I am not travelling, but using it on a plane in economy class can be a challenge and the weight becomes a factor when carried for long periods of time. At 7.7 lbs it is not lightweight.  But as a law student, I love the idea of having my textbooks digitally on my computer, the more I think about though, it is likely two screens would be required for most work other than reading and highlighting.  One for the textbook and another to contain the notes.  Easier enough to accomplish when studying at home, but I am concerned about the difficulty of carrying around the notebook and a 2nd monitor to classes each day to enable me to refer to the textbook and my notes simultaneously.

Bottom line, I think they will be hot and people will start to use touch screen netbooks as eBooks especially at price point under $500.

Will touchscreen Windows 7 netbooks be hot or not? | All about Microsoft |

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Netbook vs. Notebook – What’s right for you?

June 24, 2009

Just sharing this article that might help students trying to decide how much “horsepower” they need in their mobile computer.  It gives a good comparison of netbooks vs. notebooks. Personally, I am trying to reduce the number of computers I am using.  If one machine can meet all needs that would be great, but I think we are still not there yet.  For me the biggest challenge is video editing.  I am interested to see how the forthcoming Nehalem mobile processors will change the game, but the likelihood have a having an under five pound notebook with discrete graphics is low.

I think I will using a notebook (possibly a tablet) for mobile and most purposes and then having a desktop as a family machine that is also used for video editing. I am concerned about the limited processing power of the netbooks, but if budget is your primary concern and you are aware of their limitation, it might be the right choice for you.

Living with a netbook: The performance penalty | Laptops and Desktops |

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Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon from the

June 24, 2009

I am hoping to see the market for eBooks to continue to grow. As a law student, I would be thrilled to be able to purchase my books in a digital format and then read and annotate them with a convertible tablet computer.  I truly believe this is the direction the world is moving in, but the question is how long will it take us to get there?  Blackberries and iPhones are becoming the platforms of choices for reading RSS feeds.  Personally, I use Viigo on a Blackberry to get most of my news.  I am able to skim the summaries and then download the full article to read if I desire.  If the topic is really interesting, I email it to myself and then use my computer to further search the internet for additional information (one of the main ways I find articles of interest to blog about).

I am glad to see competition in the eBook market as well, personally the Kindle does not hold much interest for me.  It costs almost as much as a full powered notebook and more than some netbooks, and has very limited capabilities in comparison.  In contrast, I would rather have a slate style tablet (no keyboard) that would accept pen input and have a thin light form factor.  This would give equivalent or better readability, without being difficult to transport.  This tablet would be the be the base level mobile internet device, with the next level being the convertible tablet that includes a keyboard for easier input of data/text.

The challenge I see is the need for two screens to do meaningful work with the eBook.  We are all used to looking at reference materials as we use a computer.  Using two screens on my desktop computer significantly increased my efficiency and output.  I have been thinking that if my reading material was on the same device I wanted to take notes on, it would become difficult to switch back and forth.  A second screen solves that problem.  I envision reading/highlighting a textbook/casebook with the convertible tablet in a folded position, enabling its use almost anywhere.  Then when ready to go back, review, and create notes, either docking it or just attaching an external display (imagine if you could use the slate tablet as a second monitor for the tablet/keyboard machine) and creating the notes on one screen, while still being able to review the source material on the other screen.  Now that is a solution that is incredibly efficient and has the added benefit of being “green”.  No wasted paper, no need to recycle the used books at the end of the semester. 

In future posts I will explore the costs of textbooks and what effect eBooks will have on this.  I think this topic will also be of interest to practicing attorney’s as the ability to use information in a digital format changes.  If Judges were equipped with the ability to review digital documents at the bench, wouldn’t it change the way trials were handled?  That too sounds like a worth topic to explore.


Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon –

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