Steve Jobs proven wrong? The stylus is making a comeback, fueled by Draw Something and other stylus-friendly apps

March 30, 2012
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“If you see a stylus, they blew it”. One of the most famous quotes of the recent years in the technology world came from Steve Jobs in 2010 and seemed to define the direction in which tablets and smartphones should move forward.

Two years later, though, a Bloomberg report confirms what I for one have been saying for a long time -the stylus is a great, fun tool to use with your smartphone or tablet of choice and, given the right app, right stylus, and right device, it can become popular again.

Well, the devices are there (the Samsung Galaxy Note is just one of the numerous Android-based smartphones that has a nice enough screen to beautifully support stylus input), the styluses were there from as far as I can remember, so the only thing that was missing was some cool free apps to challenge our artsy selves.

“Draw Something”  from OMGPOP is not your usual state-of-the art mobile game with groundbreaking graphics and a complex and complicated storyline. Yet, somehow, it managed to reach 20 million downloads in only five weeks after its launch.

It’s simple, it’s easy to understand and easy to play, and the only thing you have to do to become a “Draw Something” expert is to guess words based on your friends’ doodles and vice versa. Of course, in order to doodle things like a pro, you kind of need a stylus, as  drawing with your fingers it’s pretty uncomfortable and not very accurate either.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that styluses sales have seen an considerable boost over the last months. Just Mobile, for example, the manufacturer of the AluPen, recently released an official statement saying that their sales have doubled due to ‘’Draw Something’’.

Other accessory makers, like Spigen, Ten One Design, or Griffin Technology, have also talked about sales increase during the past weeks or months, so, all in all, it’s pretty obvious that the stylus is back with a vengeance.

Moreover, Samsung Galaxy Note’s success itself can be at least partially attributed to the fact that it comes with a stylus and it insists on the usefulness of such an accessory. The 5.3-inch “phablet” has already shipped in five million units worldwide and the numbers should increase gradually during the following months, to a whopping ten million, according to estimates.

“Draw Something” is not the only cool app that makes a stylus a necessity for any self-respecting artsy technology enthusiast, with other similar titles, such as ColorBox HD, Penultimate, or Notability being popular on the iPad, as well as on Android devices.

It’s hard to tell right now if the stylus’ comeback is only a fad or if, in fact, the accessory will remain popular from now on, but one thing is clear, nevertheless. Styluses should not be ignored – they can be fun, useful tools to make your tablet or smartphone experience more interactive. You can certainly live without them, but, at the same time, they can make your digital life way cooler.

Comments

  • http://androidcowboy.com/ Android Cowboy

    I hate Apple but Jobs wasn’t wrong. He actually meant a stylus needed to navigate the phone like the old windows. The touch screen was terrible and you had to use the stylus for the touch screen. Stylus as an add-on is different specially when it comes to app enhancement.

    • Killer Instinct

      KEEP S@CK!NG CRAPPLE’S @SS IDIOT

    • New_man84

      Good point.

  • Bob

    I liked the stylus on my WinMo phone and even more so with my new Note.

  • Cube

    I like using a sylus anyway those icons are to damn small it makes them hard to push with your finger unless the icon is huge the stylus is smaller tipped and more easy to hit tiny things on the screen.

    I bought a touch screen sylus for my phone that has a tiny tip and use it just for that it also cuts down on finger prints on t he screen.,

    http://www.amazon.com/BoxWave-Capacitive-Edition-Stylus-Crimson/dp/B0019LW5NY

    and you get more screen space with smaller icons.

    I would love to have a glaxy note that sylus is even more tiny than the one i got for my phone.

    bsides i started out on palm pilots and windows ce and the nintendo ds it just feels right to use one.

    • Cube

      Oh and writing drawing is way better with a pen shaped object.

  • Cube

    Steve jobs was also an evil man and who cares what he says I hated the guy he was a idiot.

  • http://twitter.com/RLazazzera Richard Lazazzera

    Hi Peter, any idea why % of tablet users use/prefer a stylus, OEM or aftermarket?