Don’t fear the stylus comeback

The Samsung Galaxy Note

There’s a trend in smartphones, and some might call it disturbing. Hand-in-hand with the recent surge of phones with gigantic screens comes a surprise visitor, poking its way out of the technological past to stab at us here in the present: the stylus.

First there was the Samsung Galaxy Note, a phone with a massive, 5-inch screen and a pull-out stylus called the S Pen. Now, straight from the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, LG just debuted its answer to the Note, the Optimus Vu, another 5-inch phone that sports a stylus. Tablets are getting in on the action, too: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 rocks an S Pen, and the new PadFone from Asus has a stylus that also doubles as a Bluetooth headset!

One phone that includes a stylus is an odd throwback. But four devices — that’s a clear pattern, one that is rubbing many people the wrong way. Commentators from Computerworld to Wired to BetaNews have all chimed in to point out what an anachronistic addition a stylus is to a modern smartphone. It’s also the wrong attitude. It still has a place in technology.

First of all, let’s remember that the two platforms that were synonymous with the stylus — Palm OS and Windows Mobile (the precursor Windows Phone) — are gone and won’t be coming back. Once multi-touch capacitive touch screens like the iPhone’s arrived, it was a huge relief to be rid of such frustrating, clunky technology — and stylii all but disappeared.

So why would anyone want to go back to the using an accessory when phones have evolved enough to be instantly sensitive to finger touches? Simple answer: accuracy.

“I like it for its precision,” says technologist Adrian Calderon. “Even working on an iPhone, I can often tap with my stylus much faster than I can type with my finger.”

The stylus lets Calderon draw with more care in apps like SketchBook; but when the hardware is matched to the stylus, there’s even more potential to unlock. The Galaxy Note, for example, has handwriting-to-text ability, letting you transform your dashed-off notes into something practical. Although it’s not always dead-on, it’s far better then transcription.

More from Mashable

UPlanMe Calendar Fills Itself Up Based on What You Like

Have Facebook? You Can Now Check In to the Future With Forecast

20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

MTV Goes Social With Under the Thumb App

NASCAR Driver Wins 100,000 Followers in Two Hours Tweeting From Car

How to Add Photos to Your Facebook Map



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

New York City agencies to provide healthcare, legal…

Child migrants who have recently arrived in New York City and are going through deportation hearings will now have access to services from multiple agencies,…

Local

Woman's body found floating in East River in…

A woman's body was found Tuesday morning floating in the East River near Clason Point in the Bronx. The NYPD responded to the scene shortly…

International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.