Difficult and awkward “digital antiques” are a unique business

Recently, with the arrival of the domestic “Double 11” and the overseas Christmas shopping season, the entire smartphone market has obviously become active again. Major manufacturers are releasing and promoting their new products one after another, and the news of new phones has also changed significantly. Got some more.

For example, just recently, a source revealed that moto is developing a new machine with the internal code name “Geneva”. It also said that it will use a large 6.8-inch screen with a refresh rate of 90Hz, and a stylus will be installed in the fuselage, allowing users to “pull out the pen” to write or touch on the screen at any time.

“Large screen” and “stylus”, when you see these two keywords, do you first think of Samsung’s signature Galaxy Note series, or many of today’s tablet computers equipped with pressure-sensitive drawing pens?

The tip shape of the electromagnetic pressure-sensitive pen is completely different from the low-cost “capacitive pen”

However, in fact, moto’s “pen phone” is likely to have nothing to do with these high-end devices. Because it does not belong to the kind of high-end equipment for precise drawing and “original handwriting”, on the contrary, it may belong to another special consumer electronics segment, which we will call “digital antiques”.

Why “Antique”? To explain this, we first need to look back at history. Almost a dozen years ago, in the smartphone market at that time, Apple had not launched the iPhone, and the early “Android phones” at that time still looked like this.

HTC EXCA300, the world’s first Android engineering machine

In short, in the field of smartphones at that time, the Symbian models that dominated the keyboard operation, usually only had a small size (2.0-2.6 inches) screen, and most of them did not support touch control, accounted for the vast majority of shares.

Of course, at that time Nokia mainly controlled the low-end market. In the high-end and business fields, the absolute “ruler” of the smartphone field at that time was Microsoft’s Windows Mobile camp represented by HTC.

Since most models at the time did not support touch screens, most “smartphone” users were forced to learn the skills of typing quickly on the small T9 physical keyboard. So that in the later touch screen era, the “T9 keyboard”, an input method originally designed for the disabled, is still the first choice for many friends when typing.

But for users of high-end touch-screen models of that era, did everyone think they could enjoy the experience of typing on the screen by “poking and poking” early on? In fact, they can’t, or at least most people don’t want to.

The reason is very simple, because most of the touch screens on mobile phones at that time were still resistive screens, and this was a technology completely different from capacitive screens. Compared with capacitive screens, the advantage of resistive screens is that you do not need to use your fingers to touch, and you can write and draw on the screen with any sharp objects. But the price is that the response of the resistive screen is very slow, and the touch “tracking” is completely equal to no.

Because of this, for those high-end touch screen models of more than ten years, most of them have to be equipped with a stylus alone, in order to facilitate users to click and drag on the screen. The tip of a stylus is obviously much smaller than a finger, so it tends to perform better on a resistive screen (than with a finger), at least less prone to accidental touches. And although the delay of the resistive screen is so great that it is almost impossible to use the virtual keyboard to type, if you use the stylus to write on the resistive screen, the experience will be smoother (than the virtual keyboard) and the learning cost will be lower.

Having said that, I believe everyone already understands what is going on. That’s right, until now, more than a decade later, manufacturers including moto, LG, and others have occasionally launched such low-to-mid-range models with original stylus attachments. And their stylus is completely different from Samsung’s similar products on high-end models. In essence, it is more similar to the so-called “capacitive stylus” sold by Huaqiangbei for a few dollars at the lowest end. A metal rod with a small piece of conductive rubber on the top.

Obviously, such a “pen type” cannot support pressure-sensitive handwriting, and basically cannot perform sensitive drawing operations. And because capacitive screens are actually not suitable for operation with (ordinary non-pressure-sensitive) pens, these “pen mobile phones” are essentially using modern mature technology to imitate and nostalgic high-end mobile phones with resistive screens. way of operation.

From the appearance, you can easily distinguish the difference between the electromagnetic pressure-sensitive pen and the capacitive stylus

Although in our opinion, such a product may be very boring, and it may be quite difficult to use, but if there is no demand in the market, why are these manufacturers still producing such awkward “mobile phones with a pen”?

In fact, this is because such products are not essentially aimed at those of us who have long been accustomed to typing with virtual buttons on capacitive screens or drawing with electromagnetic pressure-sensitive pens. In fact, they are aimed at those who have used early high-end smartphones with resistive screens and still want to continue the habit of “writing input” on capacitive screens, but are unwilling (or unable) to buy high-end electromagnetic pressure-sensitive pen devices. elderly.

Of course, it can be said that this kind of demand is very small, and it may be a little “uncomfortable” or even a bit anti-scientific, but it cannot be denied that such a demand does exist objectively, and it has lasted for many years, and even gave birth to such a demand as moto G The Stylus series is a “digital antique” product that is constantly being updated.

[The picture in this article comes from the Internet]