When mobile phones were launched, the main method of interfacing with them was a physical keyboard. The technology evolved and the touchscreen came to life, which is a more intuitive and natural way of interacting with a device. However, there are some fields that just our thumbs are not enough, especially in high precision tasks such as drawing, 3D editing and other productive work. A Stylus pen is another natural way of interacting with computers, but it is yet to become mainstream in the consumer electronics industry. The first really popular implementation of a stylus pen was made by Samsung with the Galaxy Note line and their signature S Pen. In the last few years other tech companies have followed the Korean manufacturer – Microsoft integrates a pen with their Surface tablets and last week Apple also introduced a bigger iPad tablet with their own pen. According to an analysis from Digitimes, this trend will be followed by other manufacturers and we should see more products surfacing in 2016 with a greater market penetration.
Another important segment is the hybrid devices one, which encompasses gadgets that are a mix of tablets and laptop computers. Although this is not a new category and hybrid devices have been around for a while, it was not until recently that they became serious devices, mainly thanks to Microsoft with their Surface tablets. What would happen was that the hardware was never powerful or small enough to handle a desktop-class hardware in a tablet dimension. The end result would be a big, chunky and slow device. Surface tablets, in the other hand, have solid hardware with dimensions closer to what we have in tablets.
The launch of the iPad Pro with a stylus pen by Apple and the rise in demand for the Surface is very likely to catch consumers attention. Other big players in the industry already have an eye in this growing segment. An important example is Intel with their Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) alliance, a new group also composed by companies like Lenovo, Wacom and Synaptics, created for establishing industry standards for making Stylus pen that can be used across various devices. As a result, manufacturers like Lenovo and Dell are already gearing up to release 2 in 1 devices and notebooks that support Stylus pens using the USI standard.