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back to article Pen+tablet bandwagon finally rolling, Nvidia leaps aboard

Trying to differentiate its Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip Nvidia is desperately promoting pen computing as the future, in the hope that no-one will notice it's firmly rooted in the past. Nvidia is calling its technology DirectStylus, and makes a big deal not only of the fact that the stylus can be made of any capacitive material - …

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Meh

There's definitely a market for fine-tipped pen support on phones and tablets, so that you can write and draw at a fine resolution.

The handwriting demo in the photo in this story doesn't suggest to me any form of "fine resolution" however, whereas the Note series does support this.

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FAIL

Why? I can write quite well with the stylus or any other not-too-sharp object on my n900, pretty good resolution too (oh look, resistive does have an advantage) :P

It would be great if these companies would stop trying to sell these technologies as new.

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Restive touch screens

As Palm used for years. I still am disappointed by the poor results of using a 'capacitive' stylus on any of my Android devices. I remain sceptical about this 'new' technology.

My daughter has a Wacom tablet, and this technology is excelent, because it uses active components, and picks up power from the screen itself through inductive coupling (I took the pen apart to fix a problem).

Older stylus's had AAAA batteries in them, so were more bulky.

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Re: Restive touch screens

I'm disappointed. I was hoping for better styluses being cheaper, hence them being a no-brainer to add to tablets. Even if you have to go out and buy your own. But I don't have any faith that capacative styluses are going to be any better than just using a carrot. Nasty, imprecise things.

Obviously the screens are better for fingers though, so going with Wacom seems to be the best of both worlds, even if it does add to the cost. I don't think it's the pressure sensitivity that's the important bit. Obviously it is if you're sketching all artistically, but if all you want is something to do a quick site drawing, annotate a photo/document or handwriting recognition, then it's precision you want. And that means a small accurate nib. Which still seems to mean Wacom. Or resistive screens, which just don't seem to be as nice.

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Resistive has pros (Cheap, use anything) and cons (No Gorilla glas cover possible, wear and tear on the digitizer layer). The WACOM (or the battery powered NTrig) inductive stylus has the precision of resistive and the sturdiness of capacitive.

The digitizer layer failing was actually the doom of my N770.

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One would have to ask though for most "Joe Public user" tablets (and probably even more phones) isn't it more that all that's wanted is a simple finger-replacement, rather than all of the messing about with things like "flip to erase" and such which could equally and probably more easily be done with a button on-screen.

Personally I use a cheap (Pound Shop) stylus with my Nexus 7, and do find it much more convenient than using my fingertips. Especially for swipe-typing, it's much quicker and more accurate, particularly when also holding the tablet. Indeed direct fingertip usage is really only for pinch-zooming, and the stylus is small enough to hold between fingers when that's needed.

So it seems like perhaps nVidia is playing the role again of the drowning man grasping at anything it can (even decades old technology - go ask Psion) to try and stop the mess that is the Tegra 4 pulling it completely under whilst all its major customers jump-ship onto the SS Snapdragon.

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A strange little secret

in the sense that nobody ever mentions it, is that the Nexus 7 actually does fairly decent pressure sensitivity. I only know of one app that supports it which is a pity because it is otherwise rather primitive. Now if only Adobe or Autodesk would pull their finger stylus out.

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Re: A strange little secret

>Now if only Adobe or Autodesk would pull their finger stylus out.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/4/4395924/adobe-project-mighty-napoleon-impressions-video-demo

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Facepalm

round we come again ...

... to my 7-year-old Motion Computing WinXP tablet. Wheel now totally reinvented.

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Old tech

I still use my HP 4320 tablet for drawing or "paper-thinking": best tech buy I ever made. That, or my Nokia 6230i. Hmm....

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Anonymous Coward

Eraser Tips

"More recently Samsung has been putting Wacom gear into its Galaxy Note range, adjusting line width by pressure and sensing proximity, though not yet using the back of the pen as a rubber."

The Wacom gear being used actualy utilises the same "penabled" standard as the aforementioned Tablet PCs, meaning that the Note etc. handle erasing with the back of the penperfectly well - as long as you use a stylus with the eraser tip on it.

I use the stylus from my old toshiba tablet PC with my Note 10.1 in both Autocad Sketch Book Pro and Adobe Photoshop Touch and have been sketching (and erasing) without any issues thus far.

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Re: Eraser Tips

Works with a second market stylus just as well. WACOM sells them at 60€ for the more basic models (PL900).. Just make sure it is for tablet pc, the pens for graphic tablets or the Wacom monitors do not work

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Deja vu all over again

Where's that Palm Tungsten T3

Different technology, maybe, but I loved using the stylus on that. My youngest son now thinks it is a cool toy (mainly for recording funny voices).

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Current Tech

Not so sure this tech is rooted in the past, although it has been around a long time, the reasonable levels of success enjoyed by the Galaxy Note range suggest that it is still a current and desired tech. Capacitive sensing has the potential for much higher accuracy than resistive sensing.

Moving the sensing into the SoC to improve the sampling rate and thus the accuracy seems like a sensible move.

(But what on earth is a "capacitive material"? Or is that just a contraction typo arising from nVidia's use of passive conductive?)

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Thumb Up

TFFT

I was a late and very reluctant adopter of the now-ubiquitous smudgy-finger-powered capacitive touchscreen and never understood why everybody had to jump on the iPhone bandwagon. I tried a capacitive stylus and found it useless.

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Happy

Where's mmeier?

He's missing this- penables!

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Re: Where's mmeier?

Nope. I only care about WINDOWS penables :)

Actually this sounds like "sausage in condom" inductive crap to me, not a proper inductive digitizer

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Anonymous Coward

"Pens are a very natural way of interacting with computers, and the success of the Samsung Note range has demonstrated there's an appetite for pen computing amongst buyers which other manufacturers are scrambling to satisfy."

Middle finger to the iSheeple who swore pens were out.

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Welcome

Wacom and N-Trig are the established brands in stylus-on-screen, and I've had incomplete satisfaction from each. Another competitor should drive technical improvement forwards.

I took the felt ink-reservoir thing out of an old felt pen and washed the ink away, then cut a hole in the side of the pen and of the felt thing, so that I touched it when I held the pen. Do-it-yourself capacitative stylus, as long as it's moist - keep it in a little jar of water. This doesn't work on Wacom and N-Trig, but does work on the kind of screen that works with fingers and not if you're wearing gloves. (I think you'll also need to cut a hole in the glove so that the felt thing touches your finger.)

Actually, you can get capacitative gloves now, I think. Better if they have a stylus built in, perhaps?

You might also be able to freeze a frankfurter sausage and then sharpen it to a point, but that's hypothetical. And it freezes onto your finger.

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Facepalm

Ohmigwqad

After 20 years in IT I can't use a pen anymore...

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