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.

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