The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is due in a matter of hours. And in a couple of weeks from now, we’ll be able to buy it too. And just as Samsung has done for all of these years, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will sport its signature stylus, called the S Pen. And if reports are to be believed, that S Pen will be more feature packed and capable than ever before. But hang on; Why is it that we can only ever associate the stylus with the Samsung Galaxy Note series?
The Samsung Galaxy Note series has always sold in big numbers, with the notable exception of that one version that liked to explode. Nonetheless, Samsung more than made up for its blunders with the Galaxy Note 8, and whether you used the stylus much or not, it’s a nice accessory to have. It’s also particularly convenient that it slides into its own slot, which helps you keep it safe when not in use.
Stylus Go Back
Smartphone makers abandoned the stylus en masse when capacitive touch technology on screens became a thing. You no longer needed a stylus to operate a touch screen. Even the late Steve Jobs famously and sarcastically said ‘Who wants a stylus?’ at the launch of the original Apple iPhone back in 2007, which should have marked the end of the road for the accessory. But still, in 2011, Samsung launched the first Galaxy Note with a stylus, and successfully revived the idea.
But for some reason, Samsung remains the only manufacturer to take the Stylus seriously. Sure, the Samsung Galaxy Note series started out as a niche range that eventually became so popular that it can’t be considered niche anymore. But there’s an opportunity here for other smartphone makers as well, and the lack of interest in promoting the stylus is giving Samsung a huge advantage.
WATCH: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen Review
But would I still use a stylus?
Probably not a lot. I don’t think anyone uses a stylus a lot. It’s a lot easier to use two thumbs to type, or your index finger to navigate. But there are definitely times when I think I’d use a stylus if I had one. It’s possible to buy an aftermarket stylus easily enough, and you can get one for as little as Rs 149 on Amazon India. But these are ordinary styluses, and aren’t quite as capable and feature-filled as the one Samsung bundles on.
If I had a stylus, I’d occasionally take notes as if I were writing, which works well when you just need to scribble things or keep virtual ‘post-its’ on your phone. I probably wouldn’t write flowing text; typing is quicker for that. And it would certainly help when doodling additions to images before sending them along on WhatsApp. Using my finger to scribble on the screen is easily the hardest thing ever. In fact, I’d even pull out the stylus when the courier guy asks for a virtual signature on his tablet.
Long story short, I could do with a stylus, but I don’t want to carry that stylus around separately. It would be nice if it just slotted into my phone. For that very reason, the idea of a OnePlus 6 Note, Google Pixel 3 Note, Apple iPhone Note, or Nokia 9 Note might actually be quite enticing. To conclude, there’s definitely an opportunity here for smartphone makers to take away slices of the cake that Samsung is currently eating entirely on its own.