Apple envisions stylus with extendable, multitouch nib

Apple wants to cook up a more powerful yet sensitive stylus for your tablet.

Published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent filing dubbed simply "Input Device Having Extendable Nib" sees the nib of the stylus as the key to its power. The nib would be able to extend, thereby offering different capabilities based on its length.

At its smallest length, the nib would have a limited number of areas through which it could interact with a tablet. But extending the nib would increase the number of multitouch points, giving it the ability to create … Read more

Asus enters the small tablet stylus game with the VivoTab Note 8

LAS VEGAS -- Asus is eyeing Samsung's current tablet stylus dominance with its new Vivotab Note 8, a Windows 8.1 tablet with a Wacom digitizer and stylus pen. There's no price or firm release date just yet, so whether it undercuts the $399 regular price of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 remains to be seen.

Whatever its eventual price, Asus doesn't appear to be shy about adding value. The VivoTab Note 8 includes a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student, which, in addition to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, throws in OneNote for good measure.

Asus … Read more

Make sure you're using the S Pen correctly

Samsung's latest flagship device is scheduled to arrive in stores this week. The Galaxy Note 3 is bigger and better in nearly all respects. The company added a larger, 5.7-inch display with a higher resolution, a speedy 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, and 3GB of RAM, and gave its S Pen stylus even more features, all while making the device slimmer and sleeker than its predecessor.

The S Pen is the primary reason for the success of the Note line of smartphones and tablets. The special stylus brings added functionality to Samsung's devices, allowing users to … Read more

Use handwriting to input text on Android with MyScript Stylus

When MyScript Calculator by Vision Objects landed on the Google Play store, the handwriting recognition was said to be top-notch. Taking their technology a step further, the company released MyScript Notes Mobile, which lets you handwrite words directly onto the screen and have them converted to text.

Their most recent app takes the same handwriting functionality of the Notes Mobile app and lets you use it system-wide on your Android device, replacing the keyboard. You don't have to use a stylus to do the writing, though it might be a bit faster and more precise. Ready to try it … Read more

Hardware ahoy: Adobe to sell its Mighty digital pen in 2014

Like Google and Microsoft, Adobe Systems has been bitten by the hardware bug.

The software company announced Tuesday that it will begin selling its Mighty digital pen -- a stylus for iPads that it first demonstrated in prototype form in May. And it announced two new iOS app prototypes, Parallel and Contour, that make use of the Mighty and a related Adobe hardware product, a digitally connected ruler called Napoleon.

The Mighty is designed to close the gap between drawing on paper and using a tablet, with a Bluetooth link to the tablet software and drawing technology that Michael Gough, … Read more

The Toshiba Excite Write is an overpriced, under-featured tablet

I could easily forgive the Toshiba Excite Write for failing to breach much new ground in the stylus tablet department, but its $600 price is the ultimate deal breaker. There just isn't enough offered here -- whether in performance or features -- to justify that price.

The Write's biggest issue is integration. Or lack thereof. Toshiba's TruNote Stylus app is severely limited in function, and while the pen can be used to navigate the OS, its functionality pales in comparison to Samsung's Note line of tablets whose write-to-text features makes the S Pen feel like a … Read more

Wacom finally shows the iPad its sensitive side

It's a bit of a niche, but disconnecting the pressure-sensitive stylus from its dedicated drawing tablet and enabling use with a more mainstream, general purpose tablet like an iPad is quite liberating for designers and doodlers alike. Wacom, known for its excellent drawing peripherals like the Intuos5, has been strangely slow to jump into this market -- but finally lands with its $99 Intuos Creative Stylus (ICS).

The ICS joins products like the Adonit's Jot Touch 4 ($90) the Pogo Connect ($80) and the Hex3 Jaja ($90) with workarounds to give the fundamentally insensitive iPad display pressure-sensitive drawing … Read more

Prizefight: LG Optimus G Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 2

It's another battle of the phablets in the Prizefight ring. LG's Optimus G Pro is the latest contender to try to take down the reigning champion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Smartphone meets tablet with these big screen behemoths. The Galaxy Note 2 brings its stylus to the fight while the Optimus G Pro uses your finger.

LG's blazing Snapdragon processor and a 1080p screen is unmatched right now and Samsung's one of the most versatile feature-rich phablets we've ever seen.

It's a face-off for Prizefight supremacy. Which phablet is your Prizefight champion? Cast … Read more

Olympus XZ-10 adds another fast-lens compact to Stylus line

Like all its competitors, Olympus continues to bulk up on higher-end compacts, going after consumers who are willing to pay for better features to get better photos. Enter the Stylus XZ-10, a $400 point-and-shoot with a bright lens.

The XZ-10's lens will actually be better for some than the one on Olympus' $600 enthusiast compact, the XZ-2. It starts at a bright f1.8 26mm and zooms in to f2.7 130mm -- a 5x zoom that's tough to beat in this class of camera. By comparison, the XZ-2 has a 4x f1.8-2.5 28-112mm lens, so … Read more

New tablet app could diagnose concussions on the sidelines

It's no secret that the standard hand-eye coordination tests doctors use to monitor neuromuscular deficits -- typically when a patient is injured or as a patient ages -- can be subjective, relying on, say, descriptions of reflexes and cognitive status such as "mild," "moderate," and "severe."

So researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, the Beth Israel Medical Center, and Hebrew SeniorLife have been developing what they call a rapid neuroassessment device, nicknamed NeuroAssess, to measure neuromuscular performance quantitatively instead of qualitatively.

They've recently tested it on 150 … Read more