back to article Acer introduces a REVOLUTION in tablet tech: The PENCIL

In an earlier article on The Register, Acer revealed its PC plans – but also in evidence at its recent press launch in New York last week was the company’s belief that there is still plenty of room in certain market segments for tablets. Acer Iconia One 8 Acer's Iconia One 8: why buy a fancy stylus when you can use the 2mm …

  1. Sykobee

    Well, I wouldn't want to leave trace lines of graphite on my tablet's screen, so I'd use something else pointy in preference...

    However if the device can't keep up with handwriting, then the feature is useless unless you are doing everything very slowly. Not a good advert for the Intel chip...

    1. Lee D

      I'm thinking more along the "ordinary pencil graphite is conductive" (we use it in science classes for exactly that purpose) lines, which gives me a problem as IT guy when everyone is scrabbling conductive powder all over their shiny new tablets with their HDMI and charging sockets and USB and everything else.

      That's just a STUPID idea, and a stupid demonstration to use. Sell a pencil with one end graphite and the other end a stylus. They are literally in pound-shops today.

    2. PNGuinn

      @ Sykobee

      No problem - use a nice sharp 9h. Used one at school for geometry. Never ever needed to resharpen it.

      Oh -scratched up screen you say? Warranty job. They said I COULD USE A PENCIL.

      1. FartingHippo

        Re: @ Sykobee

        9H? I remember using a 6H in Tech Drawing (like you need to do that any more) and finding it next to useless. Unless you pressed hard enough to rip the paper the line was practically invisible. I assume a 9H is one step from using a long, thin diamond.

    3. streaky

      I'd just rather go active/capacitive on principle. If you need this you probably already have and this is likely to be the fatal error with this device - at least give it a proper stylus rather than suggesting people use pencils..

    4. DNTP

      Skilcraft pens- the Ultimate Stylus

      The best common pen to double-duty as a stylus is the US Government standard Skilcraft, ballpoint, retractable. They have a rounded metal tip, brass cartridge, and metal fittings so they work on conductive screens, cost less than a dollar each even when bought commercially in individual boxes, look more professional than designer hipster styluses, and there's a whole bunch of in-jokes about these things from people who've been around a bit. And they generally work under extreme temperatures and weird surfaces as well as much more expensive Fisher space pen cartridges.

    5. Alistair Dabbs

      >> I wouldn't want to leave trace lines of graphite on my tablet's screen

      A normal blunt-ish HB worked fine without leaving any visible traces on the glass. I can't say what would happen with a 2B, though. I didn't have one on me at the time.

  2. Mark #255


    I realise there's a slight "my specific use-case is not being met" to this, but there's no bloody GPS. And now the Nexus 7 has been withdrawn, there seems to be a dearth of tablets to replace it.

    You can get as cheap a 7" tablet as you like, as long as you're happy with Android 4.x, 1024x600 and access to Virus McPwned's AllLucky(TM) Glorious(TM) AppStor(TM).


  3. Little Mouse Silver badge

    Wake up, El-Reg!

    A pencil-related article, and no mention of rubbers?

  4. Tromos

    Not a good idea for anyone with small kids

    They see you use a pencil, they prefer crayons and felt-tips.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using a pencil is great

    Until someone doesn't have one, uses a pen, and scratches the screen. They can warn against that all they want, it will still happen.

    1. Lee D

      Re: Using a pencil is great

      Exactly. The same problem is rife in anything that you can "just draw on".

      I work in schools. I've seen many Smartboards etc. ruined by "this marker pen I found" or even ballpoint pens on soft, squidgy, touch surfaces. And even the kids in rougher schools realise that a well-place ruler throw can knock the lesson for six if they can stop the board working.

      The alternative is fancy-schmany pens that cost £60 each, on a solid surface, and you can't use any substitute, or even IR-detectors and anything shiny on the board - and both are just worse options.

      Although, the last Hitachi interactive whiteboards I bought actually came with 5 layers of peelable surface for just such instances and you could buy more. But we installed them, never told anyone (because I just know they'd peel them off for the slightest smudge), and then everyone who knew changed schools. I guarantee they were just binned after a while because nobody realised that there are four more layers underneath, ready to be used...

      Same school had touchscreen all-in-one PC's with hard-glass touchscreens. Last I heard, the cleaners were smearing them with desk cleaner spray three times a day because of the fingerprints and the streaks that not using a proper cleaner was giving them. The screens are probably like looking through the bottom of a submarine by now.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Using a pencil is great

      So a Rapidograph 00 pen wouldn't be a good idea then? Rats......

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Using a pencil is great

      >> I wouldn't want to leave trace lines of graphite on my tablet's screen

      Indeed. It's similarly possible to pour coffee and scatter sandwich crumbs over a keyboard, but I wouldn't lay the blame at Acer's door.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why all the negative comments?

    So many negative comments on the Iconia tablet - why?!

    Do ANY of you know that something like this was promised, the NoteSlate, and was vaporware for over FOUR years? Four years of initial intense media interest and coverage, promised rollout in 6 months, realization that it was just a media fishing scheme to discover interest in the idea, then 4 years of crowdsourced infodevelopment 'updates' and still...nothing. Sometimes the web site even disappeared then returned...with more promises.

    And now NoteSlate has finally announced something...but so has Acer! And you guys only throw out negative vibes.

    I wonder how anything ever gets done at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder how anything ever gets done at all?

      Well presumably you have to stop ranting at the internet and get back to work at some point.....

  7. Paul

    Some Sony tablets and smartphones have sufficiently sensitive touch screens that a pencil will work, so this is nothing new.

    I can use a soft pencil with my Xperia Z Ultra, I say soft for two reasons: a hard pencil doesn't have enough graphite, and secondly the anti-shatter film on the screen is easily scuffed (but light scratches polish out easily).

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