Update Wednesdays are always exciting, but particularly so when Google releases a new app. Today, Google has hit "publish" on Google Handwriting Input, a new keyboard option that - as the name implies - allows users to type by handwriting text in 82 languages.
Google says the app supports print and cursive, written with or without a stylus. If you draw a smiley face, Handwriting Input will even suggest emojis.
Of course the input method is styled to resemble Google's other input methods, using the same light grey and teal (or dark blue-grey and teal if you choose the dark theme) colors found in Google's main Keyboard app.
HP has just announced a pair of new business-oriented Android tablets, the Slate Pro 8 and 12. These devices have high-resolution 4:3 screens and come with a smart digital pen powered by Qualcomm technology. These are niche products, but also rather neat.
It seems that Google's apparent decision to make a 6-inch Nexus phone has upset many of you. Don't worry, though. There is a solution, and as with most things in life, it comes courtesy of Japan. It's a giant thumb that attaches to your regular thumb. Seriously, the Japanese must be years ahead of us.
Tucked into the end of an otherwise unremarkable promo video for the G3 Beat is a fleeting glance of a new, unannounced variant of LG's latest flagship device. The phone is unapologetically labeled the G3 Stylus. It looks identical to the G3 save for a slightly larger screen and, well, a stylus. This is the first we've heard of this particular phone, though it's hardly a surprising addition to the lineup.
The video glimpse of the G3 Stylus is about three seconds long, but shows a phone with a stylus bay on the top right of the device. It's got the same layout and pseudo-metal build from the G3, with a screen that looks like it's somewhere in the 5.7-6.0-inch range, presumably competing with Samsung's Galaxy Note series.
The title says it all here. GMD Air Command installs a shortcut on your Galaxy Note 3, 10.1 2014, or other compatible devices that can open Samsung's Air Command menu without you having to pull out the S pen. This is especially useful considering that some functionality, such as opening up a floating window, really doesn't need a stylus.
To sweeten things further, GMD Air Command doesn't require root to use. It comes to us from Good Mood Droid, a developer with a knack for creating small apps that extend the functionality of Android devices in nifty ways, such as by hiding soft keys when you would rather have more screen real estate or using a front-facing camera to rotate the display to match which way your head is leaning.
The previous apps from Vision Objects have been a little magical – they had better handwriting recognition than a lot of expensive desktop software suites. MyScript Stylus brings that handwriting recognition to all apps by replacing the keyboard on your phone or tablet.
MyScript Stylus gives you a small writing space where the keyboard usually is. Whatever you scribble in there will be turned into text and dropped into any field on the device in real time. It also makes use of intuitive gestures to edit text. The app supports an incredible 54 languages at launch, including several that use non-Latin characters like Traditional Chinese and Hebrew.
Stylus inputs for smartphones and tablets have become largely obsolete, with the exception of devices packing an integrated digitizer and active stylus, like Samsung's Note series and a few others. But some of us love our styli, as millions of cheap, plastic passive pens lining iPad accessory bargain bins across the country demonstrate. NVIDIA is hoping to boost the capability of passive stylus input on Tegra 4 hardware with its DirectStylus solution, a way for a standard capacitive touchscreen to more accurately emulate pen and paper.
DirectStylus works by using NVIDIA's Direct Touch 2.0 software to bump touch input scans up to 300 times a second, then applies some of Tegra's GPU power to interpret the results.
Asus really went big with announcements at Computex this year, naming 11 new products in about 30 minutes. One of the really interesting devices to make the cut was the Fonepad Note FHD 6, a smaller cousin to the 7-inch model announced earlier this year at MWC. In many ways, the super-sized phone blends qualities from other popular devices like the HTC One's front-facing speakers and a smart stylus from the Galaxy Note. While this obviously isn't the first phone to include a stylus, it's certainly new to this OEM's portfolio. The new handset will also remain faithful to Intel, but jumps to the brand new Z2560 processor.
Since their inception, tablets have been seen as a computing form factor conducive to a particular kind of artistic expression: drawing and painting. Of course, accurate sketching can be a little difficult with clumsy fingers, and conductive stylus pens have proven a middling solution, at best. Fortunately, with the advent dual-digitizers capable of supporting pressure-sensitive styli - like those found in Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 - tablets have become a much more practical art tool. Hardware is nothing without the software to take advantage of it, though. Enter ArtFlow, a new drawing app for Android that comes with, in addition to a number of effects, support for advanced styli baked in.
On April 11th, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 officially went on sale in the US in a Wi-Fi only flavor. I can tell you this already - if someone were to offer me one of those or a Nexus 7 3G, I'd take the Note 8.0 no questions asked. I think it's probably the best all-around Android tablet currently on sale, squeaky plastic and giant-Note II look be damned.
That said, it also costs $400! Now, that nets you 16GB of built-in storage with a microSD card slot, 2GB of RAM, a rear camera, Android 4.1.2, and a digitizer-equipped 8" 1280x800 display with a smart stylus.