Jun 1, 2011

HTC Flyer vs BlackBerry PlayBook - Pen Input

Gear: HTC Flyer, BlackBerry PlayBook, Slate Tablets.

I dream of getting rid of paper via a tablets.   Basically with pen input you could have an electronic notepad to write notes, sketch, highlight text, and other pen functions.  Doing pen input on a cell phone size device is not going to work, but with a tablet size device it might work well.

HTC Flyer
The one thing that sets this tablet apart from the rest of the tablets out there is the pen input.   The HTC Flyer's N-Trig based input is really good. The $80 that you pay is a bit of a bummer, it should come included! If you get the Flyer you must get the pen.  The pen runs on a "AAAA" battery so it's an electronic device.  The two buttons offer quick erasing mode, and text highlighting.   Most apps do not support the pen input, but those apps that do do a fine job at it.

BB PlayBook
The PB doesn't really offer pen input. To get that working you would need a "capacitive pen" which emulates finger touch. It's not going to be precise like the HTC Flyer's active digitizer.  This is one feature I wish the PlayBook had and it would be close to my "dream tablet".

This is basically a "no contest" scenario and the Flyer clearly wins. The only reason to get the HTC Flyer is for the pen input.  If you get the Flyer but don't get the pen you might as well get a cheaper Android tablet.  For those that think they will get precise input via those "capacitive pens" well keep dreaming.  I think touch + pen is something neat that will get more attention in time.

FYI Apple made a pen input device called the "Apple Newton MessagePad".

Crazy stuff huh?

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