Among the many well-presented and informative sessions at BUILD last week was one on pen and touch input, DirectInk and APIs in Windows 10 that will improve the experience, reduce latency and make it easier for developers to add ‘ink’ capabilities to Windows 10 applications. With around 15 million pen-enabled devices in customers hands and increase in the number of pen-enabled tablets available it currently represents a niche opportunity for developers but with these changes in Windows 10, Microsoft’s acquisition of N-Trig and the low-cost Surface 3 the opportunity could grow significantly.
Intel have just published the results of a study into the use of a digitizer and stylus on an Ultrabook.
Those of you that were into tablets in the mid 2000’s will know that Windows TabletPCs were very much stylus-oriented. Windows XP Tablet Edition included support for handwriting and the now-missing TIP, a floating input panel that would appear when an input box was selected. The digitizer was not only good for natural input but also for detecting and using something that many people forget when moving to finger touch – the hover action. Hovering meant you could activate contextual features and, simply put, see where you were putting the pointer. Over the last 10 years the finger-optimised touch layer has taken over and user interfaces have moved along to allow the finger to be used as the pointer but Windows 8 still supports handwriting input and there are still a number of important use-cases for the pen.
Intel’s study addresses the user-experience aspects of using a stylus on a clamshell device by sitting down and discussing the desires and issues with a global audience. The study also helps to strengthen some previous study findings around touchscreens, keyboards and touchpads. For example, Intel found that 56% of people asked wanted touch and a stylus on their ideal laptop. 22% of people said they don’t want a touchpad at all!
The question remains on the HTC Flyer â€“ does the pen input mode allow you to rest a palm on the screen and then use the pen without the writing / snipping / scribbling ending up like a heart monitor display? It’s known in the natural input world as ‘vectoring’ and if it’s present, it makes the process very difficult indeed.
Sascha Pallenberg (Netbooknews) and I had some time with Vodafone Germany and it looks like we were given a slightly fresher build of the HTC Flyer than the one we had tried on the show floor. You’ll see the ‘palm rejection’ working well. We also take a look at some of the apps and the UI in general.
As mentioned in the previous article about the HTC Flyer, the design and software isn’t final yet so you’ll have to wait a few months before the final versions are available.
I’d love to know if you feel the extra CPU power, pen capability and Evernote processing is worth the premium over the Galaxy Tab? Personally. knowing that the Tab is getting 2.3 and that the price is excellent and quality proven, I would still recommend the Galaxy Tab unless someone really needed handwriting input (assuming it really works!)