A Samsung marketing manager has let slip some significant developments in the Android tablet space, if they are to be believed. The company is set to bundle the S-Pen, that capacitive stylus slotted into the Galaxy Note, with future tablets.
The exact quote, from Ryan Bidan is: “I think a pen interface continues to make a lot of sense across a number of screen sizes, like the larger is more obvious of those. That’s about as specific as I can be without announcing a product.”
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sense to this. As much as the stylus has the potential to aide in certain types of input like design sketching and jotting down quick notes, the input lag is still too significant to do comprehensive note-taking. The HTC Flyer was the first such Android tab to include a capacitive stylus and an accompanying SDK, with Samsung launching its S-Pen SDK shortly thereafter with the launch of the Galaxy Note. Neither platform has seen developers flock to it.
That being said, Bidan hinted at other, more esoteric forms of input. The use of 3D gestures through the tablet’s front-facing camera are possible (as we saw with some Samsung televisions at CES) as well as voice input to a more limited extent. The good thing about the S-Pen is that in its current incarnation it is built into the hardware, merely fleshing out the Galaxy Note’s capabilities.
It won’t be niche products like the S-Pen that finally turn people onto Android tablets: it will take a significant number of quality third-party apps from trusted vendors. If those apps happen to support the stylus, all the better. As Bidan says: “It’s about getting back to that really tactile and personal communication method. We think there’s a huge amount of value in that.” Indeed.