Why hasn't anybody besides Samsung decided to employ the stylus?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: March 29, 2013

Even when the phone was just a rumor, the Galaxy Note was one of the most highly anticipated devices to be released by Samsung. The device had it all: a huge screen, a good display, great battery life, and also... a stylus. Well, a stylus with a fancy name - the S Pen. The S Pen had a few more features than your run-of-the-mill stylus, but none-the-less it's still one of the more defining factors of the Galaxy Note line. While the use of a stylus is certainly nothing foreign to us, the importance of one in a smartphone device has dwindled to the point where the Galaxy Note/Note II are the only smartphones that bother to include a stylus anymore.

There was a time not so long ago that the way the Galaxy Note is set up wasn’t out of the ordinary at all - it was standard to have a stylus dock within the smartphone, with a small stylus that could be used to easily pinpoint a certain area on a touchscreen device. It isn't hard for people to see that the finger-to-screen ratio on most phones is somewhat unbalanced. Our fingers do take up a much larger area on a smaller screen than we might like - and that's where the usefulness of a stylus comes into play. So why is it that we only include a stylus in two of the biggest phones on the market and not anything else?

I feel like it would be a useful accessory to include with any smartphone. Sometimes you come across those points in your phone where it's really annoying or difficult to get it to register with the exact part of your finger that you want it to register. You can't help the fact that the rest of your finger tries to help out. Nails are also out of the question as most touch screens are heat-sensitive and not pressure sensitive like they used to be.

"Well there you go, Anna. The screens are heat-sensitive, that's why they don't include styli anymore."

Wrong! Plus, most generic styli that are for sale now resemble something of this nature:

Which I have found isn't that much better than using your finger in the first place. Samsung has found a way to make a stylus that almost looks and feels like a real pen being in your hand, and manages to make it work and includes it with the price of the smartphone. Don't try to tell me that other smartphones can't do it for patenting reasons. I know other companies can do it. HTC created something similar with their tablet, the HTC View. Except for instead of including their stylus, called the HTC Scribe, in the box you had to purchase it separately for $80. I'd have to say I find that a little overpriced, considering you're trying to sell me on it for a tablet which already makes it easier to navigate with fingers anyway. I mean, you really only need one or the other - a big screen or a stylus. But it's still cool when you have both.

So I guess that’s where I’m a little confused. People really dig the Note and Note II because it has the S Pen, among other notable qualities. It’s not like the idea or the use of a stylus is anything new - they just enhanced it. There’s no patents that claim that Samsung owns rights to all styli or anything of the nature. But I mean, if you come out with the H Pen or the iPen or something like that you might wake up with a lawsuit at your doorstep. Still, if styli is still a relevant, useful product; why don';t we include them anymore? People can claim the stylus is a thing of the past all day long but would the Note be nearly as popular without it? I think not.

I'll leave it up to you to decide, readers. Do you think more manufacturers should include styli with their smartphones, or do you think the stylus in the form of an S Pen should remain almost exclusive to Samsung's Galaxy Note line? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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