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Is Digital Ink Making a Comeback?



There are signs that Digital Ink might be making a comeback of sorts. Of course for some of us it never really faded away. For all of Microsoft’s efforts, and the efforts of quite a few passionate Tableteers in the original age of Tablet PCs, Digital Inking never really caught on except for those of us who fell in love with it. There have been some solutions for the new age of Tablets, and more seem to be on the horizon. There have even been a few stabs at Digital Inking Apps for Android, along with the successof the original Galaxy Note. That’s certainly been encouraging on a number of fronts. But while we wait to see how much of a first class citizen Microsoft is really going to make Digital Ink with Windows 8 and its Surface Tablets, we’re looking at some interesting new developments that herald a possible return to new trends in Digital Inking, but also remind us old timers of days gone by.

3060000000057837A few things point to this possible recurrence. The Galaxy Note, often referred to as a Phablet because of its 5 inch size somewhere between a phone and a tablet, apparently sold around 5 million units. There’s no way to say how much the Galaxy Note’s Inking ability helped those sales or how many users are actually using that Inking capability. But Samsung seems to be going all in with its just re-announced Galaxy Note 10.1. If you watch the promotional video it certainly brings back memories of days gone by with shadows of the early Tablet PC days on up to the Microsoft Courier.

The fake hands are nice too, and also bring back many memories. Keep in mind that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is supposedly just around the comer as well.

And just a short time ago, Google announced that you can now turn on handwriting for Search in its mobile UI. If that doesn’t bring back memories of the late Loren Heiny and his SearchTip or Ed Holloway’s Ink Search Tool, then you really haven’t been around the Digital Inking block enough times.

So, what do you think? Will Samsung and Microsoft bring Digital Inking into the forefront again? Microsoft certainly has the opportunity if it exploits its existing assets appropriately. Samsung looks to be making its play. Curious to know your thoughts here, whether you’re an old-timer or someone knew to the Digital Inking scene.






  1. Syn

    08/06/2012 at 5:29 pm

    I think inking is really the only way these other OEM’s can stand out from the iPad. The iPad seriously needs a digitizer. I mean the developers have done a fantastic job and making inking Apps but nothing beats a real digitizer.

    That said, Samsung is a make as many devices as we can, push them out, maybe give them one update and move on. They aren’t in the business to perfect their products. I seriously doubt the Galaxy Note runs as smooth as that video shows, which is probably why its simulated. If it does, awesome!

    They also should have pushed the resolution up, but I’m getting off topic. I think inking is making a comeback, I sort of think it will take Apple adding it to iPad to make it truly main street.

  2. Jonathan

    08/07/2012 at 1:38 am

    Watching the video made me think of Courier; only on a non folding tablet. Still think MS dropped the ball in closing it down.

  3. john

    08/07/2012 at 8:05 am

    Have you seen the new OneNote? Seems like MS has finally figured out how important this piece of software is to the success of Win8. It looks much-improved, and is now designed with tablets in mind. As much as I love Evernote (and the S-note seems like a decent app too), nothing beats OneNote for me since I need to annotate documents in the workplace. That is also why a stylus is key. That said, the niche market I occupy is never going to purchase tablets in the volume of the iPad, so I see why MS is hedging its bets somewhat. I think you are correct when you point to how the stylus can be used to differentiate some tablets. Now that folks have realized they want a tablet in their lives, the stylus can be something you add on to the experience. That is a big change from the early days of tablet PC (i have been using one for 5+ years!), and I’m really excited to see what kind of affordable inking options become available with MS and its partners on Win8.

  4. Narayan

    08/07/2012 at 12:23 pm

    I purchased an Asus tablet with an embedded Wacom digitizer pen. I absolutely love it and anxious to see how he surface(s) handle inking.

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