Are Android Tablets good for note-taking?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Rommie2k6, May 4, 2012.

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  1. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The Thinkpad tablet, and HTC Flyer are Android systems with N-trig pen & touch (the pen is a battery-in-pen type, but the device it is used with needs to have the underlying N-Trig digitizer beneath the screen); I think they still have issues with basic things like the pen not working/ recognized outside of specific apps, and that the touch screen remains on even when the pen is within range resulting in random lines, and things like the aps not being even close to fully featured; the Galaxy Note phone and the upcoming 10.1" Galaxy Note are of a Wacom pen & touch system (battery-less pen, but it still needs the underlying Wacom hardware for the pen to work), but as they are android the pen support is still rudimentary at best... nowhere near the quality of your T2010 and One Note... the current ARM/ Android/ iOS devices are currently about in the early 2000's [at best] and a good decade or more behind where some of the older Tablet PC's were, especially where matters of a pen are involved (aside from the front of thinness, weight, battery life -even still on this point they are not that much better, its nothing like the lead e-ink has- and the fact they use newer chips that can better handle current media)

    Basically if you are looking for the functionality of a Tablet PC then you will need to get a Tablet PC; but if you are looking for a thin and light device and don't care about overall usability but only quite rudimentary pen support, then maybe the current android devices will cut it... and don't expect much from this year's projected '32 Win 8 tablets' as they will mostly be capacitive only devices, we have a ways to go (if ever) before 'the pen' is accepted

    Don't know if you've considered it, but what about something like the Motion computing LE1600 -its pen only, but 12.1" at a 4:3 aspect ratio, and it weighs right at 3lbs and is under an inch thick, and can be readily had on ebay for about $200-300 in good condition... battery life will depend on the battery's condition, but with a good battery it would be a few hours
     
  2. Rommie2k6

    Rommie2k6 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    You are referring to Intel's Medfield chips, x86-based but with power consumptions about that of ARM chips? Are those going confirmed to be running Windows 8 (and not RT)?

    Anyway, your points are valid, but I think it may be possible for x86 progs to run on ARM, if people would just invest the resources. The recent Medfield x86 phone runs on Android, and I think they have some emulator-like thing running in the background to allow ARM software to run.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  3. e-schreiber

    e-schreiber ƒ(x) / fashion Senior Member

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    So you believe that most of those upcoming Tablet PCs will be Pen-less? I've noticed that Microsoft is downgrading the stylus to a 2nd-class citizen; and I guess that dropping the digitizer can make the manufacturing cost of a Tablet PC $100 cheaper. But I really wasn't expecting the disdain for pen-computing to reach such a height that only a small minority of the future Win8 devices would come with digitizers.

    My guess is: there will be no WinRT devices ready by the Holidays.... And 2/3 of the new Win8 devices will have Pens.
     
  4. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Not to stray too far off topic, but I'd be blown away if there were more than five new devices with a active digitizer pen, Wacom or N-trig (not simply a update of current lines like the 2760p, T901, T731, X220t, S7s, EP121, ect...)... I don't know if it was confirmed, and I think its still in the works, but the HP Slate 8 is supposed to have 'capacitive pen support' and there is no mention of an active digitizer, at least last I checked.

    It does suck that M$ is planning on backing off on pen support, and somehow I get the feeling we will be seeing a 'Windows 8 [or 9] pen edition' which will be akin to the XP Tablet edition because I'm sure there are a good number of people at M$ that are well aware of the needs/ wants by vertical markets for pen entry and that there has already been a good bit of development and integration of those systems that it would be stupid to simply scrap them... but its M$ so who knows. market follows the money and all that...
     
  5. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    No I'm talking about the next version of Atom, Clover Trail, All of Intel's CPUs are x86 and will run Windows 8 not Windows RT. Clover Trail SOC based Tablets should see 8-10 hours of battery life and support 1080p video decoding. I believe Android on x86 still needs the application to be recompiled to run on that architecture....
     
  6. Frank

    Frank Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Microsoft has a small problem, its main OS is not tablet friendly, thus they introduced the metro UI in Win 8. The big drawback, it lacks support for normal programs. I don't expect to see a lot of pen based metro apps at the beginning. Including a Wacom stylus makes a tablet noticeably more expensive, thus I also don't expect to see a lot of new Win 8 x86 slates with pen support (because of the lack of tablet friendly (Metro style) note taking apps). MS seems to focus on finger input right now.

    Windows 8 on ARM is, well, stupid? All the advantages Win 7 x86 has over Android/iOS (large programs, like Office, Photoshop, ....) are gone, because those will be incompatible. Because MS focus on touch input, I don't expect to see anything outstanding at the beginning.

    Android on the other hand seems to go the other direction, back to windowed apps (Samsung mainly) and pen support (HTC, Lenovo, Samsung). There are some apps available, but those aren't as feature rich as Windows 7 programs, still capable.

    If you want to sync OneNote with pen support you can use MobileNoter, it supports ink, and supports editing ink. (I don't understand why MS struggles to support ink properly)
    The latest Acrobat reader for Android supports annotation, other PDF readers, too. On Android are many apps to take notes and even sync them with Windows (Evernote). There's handwriting recognition support, too, via third party apps or build in like in Samsung pen enabled devices.
    If MS isn't careful they'll lose not the only the smartphone market to iOS and Android, but also the tablet market to Android.

    x86: Android runs fine on x86 hardware and all Java written apps run natively on it. Some very very rare apps (games, ..) which include native written code need a small fix for x86 but they run, too. Several x86 Intel Atom based smartphones will be availabe in a few weeks/months, with a fully working Android. The performance of the processor is mediocre compared to ARM. Not because of software issues (Intel heavily tweaked Android for x86, so it's probably better optimized for x86) but because of the weak hardware. Intel Medifield smartphones have a single core only, are faster than single core ARM A9 processors, but equally fast as dual/quad core A9 processors. However, in a few months A15 processors get released, Qualcomms Krait is sold already, which are faster than Intel medfield per core. They are sold in dual/quad core configurations, thus are even faster. The GPU in the medfield is weak and old, nothing outstanding compared to recent ARM processors. So if such a processors gets included in a tablet, you're better off with a faster ARM A15 processor.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  7. nyb72

    nyb72 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I've been experimenting with note taking using a Samsung Galaxy Note which has a Wacom digitizer.

    I've been using it for about a month and here are the pros and cons I've found:

    Cons
    Even though it is such a large phone, the screen size isn't exactly suited for note taking if you're used to writing on legal sized pads. But if your style of note taking is more suited to 3x5 index cards or post it notes, then you might want to give it a try.

    There isn't much of a bezel on the phone, so finding a hand position to write your notes is a little awkward. On my Motion tablet, my hand would rest easily on the screen or bezel to write. On the Note, my hand would be up in the air or resting on a different plane with respect to the screen depending on where you are writing on the screen.

    In terms of inking, there is a bit of lag when it comes to inking response but its not enough to bother me too much.

    Pros

    The pressure sensitivity and accuracy is close to what I'm used to with the Wacom digitizers I've used on Motion tablets.

    Despite the large size of the phone, it still fits in my pocket, so this phone is with me all the time. There are a lot more missed opportunities for note taking with a full sized tablet.

    As far as software goes, I've been using a program called Papyrus. It is still in beta but it has been my goto notetaking app so far. It also supports pressure sensitivity on the S-pen so my handwriting is close to what I'm getting on my Motion tablet. I've emailed the developer to suggest features that would bring it on par with OneNote and I'm happy to see that they are already working on them.
     
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